"Once you've built a circuit from molecular-scale devices
-- something about the size of a bacterium -- the question is
how you get data into and out of it," said Kuekes, computer
architect and senior scientist, HP Labs. "In order to do that,
you have to bridge the size gap between molecular-scale wires
and current technology, which is about a hundred times bigger."
Tiny wires in today's integrated circuits are addressed through
a device called a demultiplexer. However, building a demultiplexer
requires an extremely precise, very complex pattern of connections.
Since it would be virtually impossible to make such precise connections
with molecular-scale wires, the new patent proposes making connections
randomly using a chemical process. The resulting pattern can then be
determined using computer algorithms. "We've essentially created a city
of streets crossed by avenues, but they're so tiny we can't paint the street
signs," said Kuekes. "Instead, we have a chemical process that gives each
street and avenue a unique name. Then we run a program that identifies all the
thoroughfares by their names and enables us to create a map of the city.
Once you have that map, you can store and retrieve information at any intersection."
HP and its partners at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),
expect to be able to fabricate a 16-kilobit memory using this approach by 2005.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:50 MDT