Nanowire Manipulation Could Lead to Hand-Held Supercomputers

October 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: Here's how to shut down the internet: Snip undersea fiber-optic cables

Related Stories

Researchers discover switching function in molecular wire

October 27, 2017

The increasing miniaturisation in electronics will result in components which consist of only a few molecules, or even just one molecule. Tiny wires are required to connect these to an electrical circuit at the nano level. ...

Experiment provides deeper look into the nature of neutrinos

October 23, 2017

The first glimpse of data from the full array of a deeply chilled particle detector operating beneath a mountain in Italy sets the most precise limits yet on where scientists might find a theorized process to help explain ...

Recommended for you

Atomic blasting creates new devices to measure nanoparticles

December 14, 2017

Like sandblasting at the nanometer scale, focused beams of ions ablate hard materials to form intricate three-dimensional patterns. The beams can create tiny features in the lateral dimensions—length and width, but to create ...

Engineers create plants that glow

December 13, 2017

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk.

Faster, more accurate cancer detection using nanoparticles

December 12, 2017

Using light-emitting nanoparticles, Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists have invented a highly effective method to detect tiny tumors and track their spread, potentially leading to earlier cancer detection and more ...

0 comments

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.