What would be a week without talking about molecular computing or nanotechnology? So it's time to come back to this subject, with the help of Lee Bruno, from the Red Herring Magazine.
He starts with a catching line.
Recent advancements in memory research pave the way for storing a library in a space the size of your fingernail.
Then he focuses on the two major research advancements in molecular electronics which happened recently. One of them is the Millipede project from IBM. I'll let you read the article if you want more details.
I prefer to tell you more on the Hewlett-Packard discoveries.
Earlier this month, Stanley Williams, director of the Quantum Science Research lab at Hewlett-Packard, announced that his researchers had created the highest density of electronically switchable memory to date, capable of storing 6.4 gigabits of data in one square centimeter.
Switchable memory, in simple terms, means that each bit of memory can be flipped on and off by a current. The flipping time for an individual bit in QSR's memory is about 10 nanoseconds. The QSR memory is "non-volatile," which means that once the switches are flipped, they stay that way; information in the memory will thus be retained even when the power is shut off. And it's capable of storing ten times more than the best silicon DRAM memory on the market today. What's more, the memory architecture has no moving parts.
HP's announcement was also a landmark because the memory bits are made of molecules known as rotaxanes, rather than silicon, making this the first significant demonstration of so-called molecular electronics. These rotaxane structures are trapped at the intersection of platinum and titanium wires that are only 40 nanometers (a billionth of a meter) wide.
Of course, there is the usual paragraph about the Library of Congress. And this is the conclusion.
What do these innovations mean? Imagine carrying around the entire Library of Congress in a handheld computing device. Surely that qualifies as a revolution.
Source: Lee Bruno, Red Herring Magazine, Sep. 25, 2002
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