Nanowire Manipulation Could Lead to Hand-Held Supercomputers

Oct 22, 2007 by Lisa Zyga weblog
NASA Supercomputer
The Columbia Supercomputer at NASA´s Advanced Supercomputing Facility at Ames Research Center.

Researchers have been working on nanowires and microchips so tiny that they could be used to build supercomputers that could fit in the palm of your hand. Hopefully, the nanowires will eventually lead to small, powerful gadget such as hand-held PCs, mobile phones as powerful as laptops, and medical advances.

The group of engineers, with members from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and the University of Rome in Italy, will have their results published in an upcoming issue of Science.

The researchers studied the behavioral properties of nanowires—which are more than 1,000 times thinner than a human hair—and investigated how the wires react and respond to exterior forces compared with conventional wires.

"What we found is when we made these wires smaller and smaller they started to behave in a very funny way," researcher Michael Zaiser told the BBC News.

To control the strange behavior, the researchers developed a computer program that allows engineers to predict when problems might arise with the wires, and how to avoid them.

Using this understanding, the group found ways to ensure that tiny wires in electronics hardware will be able to retain their efficiency, which is essential for the power requirements in scaled-down supercomputers. The wires can then be used to fabricate tiny microchips and processors for electronics applications.

"This will help to make small devices much more powerful in the future," Zaiser said. "Holding a supercomputer in the palm of your hand will one day be possible - and we are going to make sure all the wires are in the right place."

Via: BBC News

Explore further: Solving molybdenum disulfide's 'thin' problem

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Explainer: What is a superconductor?

Mar 05, 2015

Materials can be divided into two categories based on their ability to conduct electricity. Metals, such as copper and silver, allow electrons to move freely and carry with them electrical charge. Insulators, ...

Recommended for you

Solving molybdenum disulfide's 'thin' problem

Mar 27, 2015

The promising new material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has an inherent issue that's steeped in irony. The material's greatest asset—its monolayer thickness—is also its biggest challenge.

Snowflakes become square with a little help from graphene

Mar 25, 2015

The breakthrough findings, reported in the journal Nature, allow better understanding of the counterintuitive behaviour of water at the molecular scale and are important for development of more efficient techno ...

Nanostructure complex materials modeling  

Mar 25, 2015

Materials with chemical, optical, and electronic properties driven by structures measuring billionths of a meter could lead to improved energy technologies—from more efficient solar cells to longer-lasting ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.