Teeny tiny transistors promise miniature supercomputers

Written by Jason Cundall

June 9, 2005 | 13:48

Tags: #transistors

According to this very interesting article, Since transistors where developed in the 50's they've shrunk from being fractions of an inch across to today's 50 nanometres across - which is akin to shrinking the US down to the size of a hot-tub. Now researchers have taken another step forward in miniaturisation - they've worked out how to make individual molecules act as transistors:

Scientists at the University of Arizona have discovered how to use quantum mechanics to turn molecules into working transistors in the lab, a breakthrough that might one day lead to high-powered computers the size of a postage stamp.

Results of the as-yet-unpublished study came together just weeks before Canadian researchers performed a similar feat using chemical means. That experiment appeared in the journal Nature last week. Together, the two studies could bring the final frontier in nanocomputing -- a single-molecule transistor -- considerably closer to reality.

The transistor -- the essential building block of computers -- is a circuit component that amplifies or halts an electrical signal using three leads: The first two leads are like two ends of a garden hose; the third is like a valve that regulates the flow of water through the hose.

More from Wired here.

Wow - today's chips have unbelievable amounts of transistors on them... If this plays out, just think how many you'd get on an average sized die. Of course, it's still a way out, and I'm sure there'll be other obstacles to overcome (When things get this tiny all sorts of odd stuff happens if I recall correctly), but I for one can't wait to have my own 'Blue Gene' in my wrist watch...

Discuss this in the forums
Mod of the Month February 2021 in Association with Corsair

March 26 2021 | 18:30