updated 04:10 pm EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Nanotech CPU and Drives
A pair of research developments published in Science today have revealed nanotechnology that could alternatively improve computer performance and increase storage. A University of Pittsburgh research team has developed nano-sized transistors that are made using two ceramics etched with an atomic force microscope. The resulting circuits would be as large as an atom and would be much smaller than usual transistors, which in computers are often much larger at about 45 nanometers across.
The breakthrough, headed by Jeremy Levy, would let companies that refined the technology make chips substantially smaller or more complex than existing designs, including for processors and chip-based storage.
Simultaneously, a hybrid UC Berkeley and University of Massachusetts Amherst team has invented a technique that could reliably create a nano-sized semiconductor film that could be used to hold data. The use of heated sapphire crystals has been found to make patterns on film and is an improvement on previous polymer techniques, which often lost the pattern on the large surfaces needed for processors.
The approach could create storage which holds the equivalent of 250 DVDs, which would amount to nearly 1.2TB in the single-layer discs, while still having the surface area of a quarter.
Neither research group has said how soon they expect their technology to reach commercial products.