Tuesday, April 17, 2001
Plastic chips, single-electron devices emerge from the lab This is a hard article to slog through, but it reports as routine and mundane the creation of room temperature single electronic transistors. This is a pretty big deal, since previous devices operated at 25 Kelvin, 25 degrees above absolute zero. These engineers are pretty nonchalant about single electronic work because it's been going on for more than a decade. The first demonstration of using a single electron to control the position of another electron was way back in 1997. But folks like us (assuming you're not a molecular electrical engineer) tend to go, whoa! All it means is the ability to put a trillion transistors in a square centimeter vs. today's 6 million, that's all. What it will really mean, if it gets out of the lab this decade, as some are predicting, is storage and processor power will take dramatic leaps. Imagine what we'll do with 166,666 times the memory and processor capability!