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"Crossbar Latch" From HP May One Day Replace Transistors Used in Today's Computers

Molecular-Sized News May Turn Big For Hewlett-Packard

One of simplest yet most essential logic functions in computing devices was performed, not by a silicon based transistor, today's most advanced method, but by a molecule-sized device. The tiny device was created by Hewlett-Packard researchers.

Three scientists are credited for the work which will be published in the Journal of Applied Physics. According to the researchers, working at the company's Quantum Science Research Group, the innovation could one day come to replace today's transistors that are used in today's computers.

While still a dream, theoretically, the Hewlett-Packard researchers say, their technology could lead to computers that are thousands of times more powerful than what's available now. Molecular, or nano-sized devices could overcome the limitations that transistors will meet in the upcoming years, because of limits imposed by their physical makeup.

The researchers have developed a "crossbar latch." A rudimentary device, it is made up of three wires, one wire crossed by the other two with molecular-scale junctions where the wires intersect. Electrical impulses sent to the latch cause it to perform one of the key functions binary computers perform. The NOT operation, with AND and OR, is one of three basic operations that make up the primary logic of a computer circuit.

Stan Williams, HP senior fellow and director of the Quantum Science Research Group, commented, "We are reinventing the computer at the molecular scale." He said the crossbar is a fundamental elemental if the technology is to be used in the creation of cheaper devices that are also easier to build."

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Most Recent Comments
moron 02/03/05 03:38:12 AM EST

|||Reinventing the computer at the molecular scale was always going to happen, but how very 21st-century that we should all just be catching up with this now...|||

Hey, Nanotech, sure it's a doozy...a layer of molecules 3 billionths of a meter thick, able to store data during a computing operation, without semiconductors, no problem - I do it at home every day

Crossbar Mania 02/03/05 03:25:50 AM EST

This is still six to 10 years from widespread commercial use.

Nanocomputing 02/03/05 03:19:56 AM EST

Reinventing the computer at the molecular scale was always going to happen, but how very 21st-century that we should all just be catching up with this now...

go HP 02/03/05 03:01:40 AM EST

A quantum leap from HP's Quantum Science Research Group?! Maybe there's something to the "hp Invent" slogan after all!

Infopoint 02/01/05 02:29:27 PM EST

###the crossbar is a fundamental elemental if the technology is to be used in the creation of cheaper devices that are also easer to build###

there's more on crossbar in this university paper (www.ece.virginia.edu/~mmz4s/papers/tnano03.pdf )

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