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: Star-spangled find may lead to advanced electronics

Related Stories

Star-spangled find may lead to advanced electronics

March 20, 2017

For several years, a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas has investigated various materials in search of those whose electrical properties might make them suitable for small, energy-efficient transistors ...

As Moore's law ends, brain-like computers begin

March 13, 2017

For five decades, Moore's law held up pretty well: Roughly every two years, the number of transistors one could fit on a chip doubled, all while costs steadily declined. Today, however, transistors and other electronic components ...

Static electricity's tiny sparks

January 6, 2017

Static electricity is a ubiquitous part of everyday life. It's all around us, sometimes funny and obvious, as when it makes your hair stand on end, sometimes hidden and useful, as when harnessed by the electronics in your ...

The baby MRI—shrinking tech to help save newborn lives

January 24, 2017

There's a picture of our first daughter that my wife can't bear to see. It was taken on Easter Sunday, 2008, the day she was born. Although it was the start of spring, it was snowing in London. Meanwhile, our daughter, just ...

Infrared links could simplify data center communications

January 31, 2017

Data centers are the central point of many, if not most, information systems today, but the masses of wires interconnecting the servers and piled high on racks begins to resemble last year's tangled Christmas-tree lights ...

Recommended for you

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light

March 23, 2017

Rice University scientists have created an efficient, simple-to-manufacture oxygen-evolution catalyst that pairs well with semiconductors for solar water splitting, the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy in the ...

Chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level

March 22, 2017

Scientists have succeeded in 'filming' inter-molecular chemical reactions – using the electron beam of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) as a stop-frame imaging tool. They have also discovered that the electron beam ...

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.