David Kirkpatrick

August 13, 2008

All-nanowire loaded chip

Just after blogging on UC Berkeley’s recent research gift from Applied Materials, this story appears in the inbox. The university has created the first integrated circuit using nanowires as both sensors and electronic components.

This technology has a lot of possibities, even beyond silicon chips.

From the second link:

Nanowires make good sensors because their small dimensions enhance their sensitivity. Nanowire-based light sensors, for example, can detect just a few photons. But to be useful in practical devices, the sensors have to be integrated with electronics that can amplify and process such small signals. This has been a problem, because the materials used for sensing and electronics cannot easily be assembled on the same surface. What’s more, a reliable way of aligning the tiny nanowires that could be practical on a large scale has been hard to come by.

A printing method developed by the Berkeley group could solve both problems. First, the researchers deposit a polymer on a silicon substrate and use lithography to etch out patterns where the optical sensing nanowires should be. They then print a single layer of cadmium selenide nanowires over the pattern; removing the polymer leaves only the nanowires in the desired location for the circuit. They repeat the process with the second type of nanowires, which have germanium cores and silicon shells and form the basis of the transistors. Finally, they deposit electrodes to complete the circuits.

University of California, Berkeley, researchers were able to create an orderly circuit array from two types of tiny nanowires, which can function as optical sensors and transistors. Each of the circuits on the 13-by-20 array serves as a single pixel in an all-nanowire image sensor.

Squared away: University of California, Berkeley, researchers were able to create an orderly circuit array from two types of tiny nanowires, which can function as optical sensors and transistors. Each of the circuits on the 13-by-20 array serves as a single pixel in an all-nanowire image sensor.

July 3, 2008

Solar moratorium news, nanowire memory and tiny, tiny computer chips

From KurzweilAI.net — the US government comes to its senses on the solar moratorium, breakthroughs in nanowire memory, and computer chips heading toward smaller than 10 nanometers.

U.S. Lifts Moratorium on New Solar Projects
New York Times, July 3, 2008

Under increasing public pressure over its decision to temporarily halt all new solar development on public land, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that it was lifting the freeze, barely a month after it was put into effect.

See also: Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects

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New Nanowire-Based Memory Could Beef Up Information Storage
PhysOrg.com, July 2, 2008

University of Pennsylvania researchers have created a type of nanowire-based information storage device that is capable of storing three bit values rather than the usual two.

This ability could lead to a new generation of high-capacity information storage for electronic devices.

The phase changes are achieved by subjecting the nanowires to pulsed electric fields. This process heats the nanowires, altering the core and shell structure from crystalline (ordered) to amorphous (disordered). These two states correspond to two different electrical resistances.

The third value corresponds to the case where the core is amorphous while the shell is crystalline (or visa versa), resulting in an intermediate resistance.

Creating information storage from nanowires can be done via “bottom-up” approaches, using the natural tendency of tiny structures to self-assemble into larger structures, so they may be able to break free of the limitations faced by traditional “top-down” methods, such as patterning a circuit onto a silicon wafer by depositing a nanowire thin film.

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Intel’s Gelsinger Sees Clear Path To 10nm Chips
ChannelWeb, June 30, 2008

Intel sees a “clear way” to manufacturing chips under 10 nanometers, according to Pat Gelsinger, VP of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group.

The next die shrink milestone will be the 32nm process, set to kick off next year, followed by 14nm a few years after that and then sub-10nm, he said.

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April 2, 2008

Nanotech news in computing, display and medicine

The latest in nanotechnology developments from KurzweilAI.net.

First up is a variant of multidimensional hypercubes to be used as part of nanocomputers.

Next is an active-matrix display created with nanowires. This tech should eventually lead to e-paper, flexible monitors and other cool display applications.

Last is a nanomachine that kills cancer cells. UCLA researchers created a “nanoimpeller” that delivers anti-cancer drugs right to the cancer cell.

Hypercubes Could Be Building Blocks of Nanocomputers
PhysOrg.com, April 1, 2008University of Oklahoma researchers have investigated a new variant of multidimensional hypercubes as computational elements of nanocomputers: the “M-hypercube,” which could provide a higher-dimensional layout to support three-dimensional integrated circuits and the quantum properties of nanocomputers.The unique structure of hypercubes provides a massively parallel, distributed processing architecture with simple, robust communication linkages, able to count single electrons, and allow for parallel computing, reversibility, locality, and a three-dimensional architecture.

M-hypercubes contain two types of nodes: state nodes, which are embedded on the vertices of the M-hypercubes; and transmission nodes, which are embedded in the middle of the links between state nodes. Each node can be turned on or off; the transmission nodes can isolate parts of the cube from other parts when in the off state.

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Engineers make first ‘active matrix’ display using nanowires
PhysOrg.com, March 31, 2008Purdue University researchers have created the first active-matrix display using a new class of transparent nanowire transistors and circuits.Future applications include e-paper, flexible color monitors, and heads-up displays embedded in car windshields.
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Nanomachine kills cancer cells
PhysOrg.com, April 1, 2008UCLA researchers have developed a “nanoimpeller” nanomachine that stores anticancer drugs inside pores and then releases them into cancer cells in response to light.They claim it’s the first light-powered nanomachine that operates inside a living cell.

The interior of the pores are coated with azobenzene, a chemical that oscillates between two different shapes upon light exposure. The amount of drug released can be precisely controlled by the light‘s intensity, excitation time and specific wavelength.
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