Hewlett-Packard researchers have developed a new technique for building computer chips. The chips are eight times denser and could work with existing microelectronic systems. This would potentially lead to faster, more energy efficient computers. Not only that, but HP believes the new chip technology could be layered on top of existing metal oxide silicon chips already in production. In a nutshell, more transistors on a single chip, all thanks to nanotechnology.
Because of their small size, however, chips built with nanowires have a high defect rate. Nevertheless, thanks to the a "crossbar switch" arrangement, a typical architecture found in integrated circuits, programmers can get around the defects problem. A chip with 20% of its nanowires broken is still able to produce at 75% efficiency. The chips are slated for 2010, assuming prototypes that are planned are successful.
"Excessive heating and defective device operation arise at the nanoscale. What we've been able to do is combine conventional [chip] technology with nanoscale switching devices in a hybrid circuit to increase effective transistor density, reduce power dissipation, and dramatically improve tolerance to defective devices," said Stan Williams, a researcher with HP Labs.
News source: CBC News