Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Showing Spotlights 25 - 29 of 29 in category IC, Memory, Storage (newest first):

 

Nanotechnology to the rescue of overheating computer chips

For computer chips, 'smaller and faster' just isn't good enough anymore. Power and heat have become the biggest issues for chip manufacturers and companies integrating these chips in everyday devices such as cell phones and laptops. The computing power of today's computer chips is provided mostly by operations switching at ever higher frequency. This physically induced power dissipation represents the limiting factor to a further increase of the capability of integrated circuits. Heat dissipation of the latest Intel processors has become a widely discussed issue. By the end of the decade, you might as well be feeling a rocket nozzle than touching a chip. And soon after 2010, computer chips could feel like the bubbly hot surface of the sun itself. As the electronics industry continues to churn out smaller and slimmer portable devices, manufacturers have been challenged to find new ways to combat the persistent problem of thermal management. New research suggests that the integration of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as heat sinks into electronic devices might provide a solution to this problem.

Apr 12th, 2007

Telescoping nanotubes promise ultrafast computer memory

Non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) is the general name used to describe any type of random access memory which does not lose its information when power is turned off. This is in contrast to the most common forms of random access memory today, DRAM and SRAM, which both require continual power in order to maintain their data. NVRAM is a subgroup of the more general class of non-volatile memory types, the difference being that NVRAM devices offer random access, as opposed to sequential access like hard disks. The best-known form of NVRAM memory today is flash memory, which is found in a wide variety of consumer electronics, including memory cards, digital music players, digital cameras and cell phones. One problem with flash memory is its relatively low speed. Also, as chip designers and engineers reach size barriers in downscaling the size of such chips, the research focus shifts towards new types of nanomemory. Molecular-scale memory promises to be low-power and high frequency: imagine a computer that boots up immediately on powering up and that writes data directly onto its hard drive making saving a thing of the past. Researchers are designing the building blocks for this type of memory device using telescoping carbon nanotubes as high-speed, low power microswitches. The design would allow the use of these binary or three-stage switches to become part of molecular-scale computers.

Feb 14th, 2007

Nanocables a possible solution for semiconductor industry to go beyond 22 nm node

As the semiconductor industry continues to miniaturize in following Moore's Law, there are some real challenges ahead, particularly in moving deeper and deeper into the nano length scale. In particular, sustaining the traditional logic MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) structure, design, and materials composition will be especially difficult, particularly beyond the 22 nm node. Nanocables, consisting of a range of materials, offer potential solutions to these problems and may even be an alternative to today's MOSFET. A group of researchers from several European countries now reports the synthesis of a magnetically tunable nanocable array, combining separate hard and soft magnetic materials in a single nanocable structure. The combination of two or more magnetic materials in such a radial structure is seen as a very powerful tool for the future fabrication of magnetoresistive, spin-valve and ultrafast spin-injection devices with nonplanar geometries.

Oct 16th, 2006