"This work will not merely lead to incremental improvements in information processing systems," says Porod, "but will open the door to an entirely new approach to computing and computer architecture."
Lent, along with colleagues Greg Snider, Alex Kandel, and Kenneth Henderson, were awarded $1.75 million ($1.55 million from NSF and $200,000 from SRC-NRI) to advance a similarly unconventional type of computing known as Quantum-dot Cellular Automata (QCA), which was pioneered at Notre Dame. In QCA, the familiar switches of current silicon-based transistors are replaced by single molecules that interact with neighboring molecules through changes in charge.
"Such molecular level computing has the potential to generate ultra-small devices that use very little power," says Lent. "Generating heat has been the limiting factor in making computer circuits smaller and smaller. In this collaborative effort between Engineering and Chemistry our aim is to design and build molecules specifically suited to the task."
Notre Dame has been focused on nanoelectronics research since the 1980s and is the lead institution in the SRC-NRI-funded Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND), which is part of a network of 24 universities conducting nanotechnology research around the United States.
"The search for a new semiconductor device that will provide the U.S. with a leadership position in the global era of nanoelectronics relies on making discoveries at these kinds of advanced universities," said Jeff Welser, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative for SRC. "These schools have the talent and capabilities needed to produce critical research that helps to raise both our national competitiveness and economic progress."
|Contact: Wolfgang Porod |
University of Notre Dame