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HP claims molecular computing breakthrough

The device could one day replace transistors

By James Niccolai
February 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Co. have created a molecular-scale device that they say could one day replace the transistors used in today's computer chips.
In a paper to be published today in the Journal of Applied Physics, the three researchers from HP's Quantum Science Research Group describe how they created a tiny device that can perform one of the essential logic functions in computing devices just nanometers across.
The technology could eventually be used to complement and even replace current transistors, which are expected to hit certain physical limits in the coming years that will prevent them from being made any smaller. The researchers said their technology could lead to computers that are thousands of times more powerful than those that exist today.
The researchers have developed a "crossbar latch" that consists of a single wire crossed by two other wires with molecular-scale junctions where the wires intersect. By applying a sequence of electrical impulses, the latch can perform the so-called NOT operation, which along with AND and OR is one of three basic operations that make up the primary logic of a computer circuit, HP said in a statement.
The crossbar latch provides a key element needed for building computers using nanoscale devices that are relatively cheap and easy to build, said Stan Williams, an HP senior fellow and director of the Quantum Science Research Group. "We are reinventing the computer at the molecular scale," he said.
The research group is trying to figure out a way to mass produce the devices economically.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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