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The future of computing -- carbon nanotubes and superconductors to replace the silicon chip
Date:3/28/2008

nd semiconducting tubes, whereas just one type or the other is needed for a specific component. These electrical properties depend on the precise arrangement of carbon atoms in the nanotube, but thats hard to determine for single tubes.

Bryan Hickey and his coworkers at Leeds have now developed a technique that will reveal an individual nanotubes structure (and thus its electrical properties), and then allow it to be placed in a position on a surface with an accuracy of about 100 nanometres, a fraction of the width of a human blood cell. The nanotubes are grown on a perforated ceramic grid, and tubes lying across the holes are examined in an electron microscope to deduce their atomic structures. Then the researchers use two needle-fine tips like tweezers to pick up a single tube under the microscope and put back down on another surface.

Chris Allen, one of the Leeds teams, says, With this technique we can make carbon nanotube devices of a complexity that is not achievable by most other means.

Boosting computer power with superconductors

Two further talks at the meeting will describe an even more dramatic way to overcome the limitations of silicon computers. Hans Mooij of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Raymond Simmons of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, USA, will claim that superconductors materials that conduct electricity with zero electrical resistance can harness the power of quantum physics to boost computer power tremendously.

So-called quantum computers have become one of the hottest items in physics over the past decade. They attempt to improve on the power of silicon not by making components smaller but by exploiting the counterintuitive principles of quantum mechanics, the theory generally used to understand how objects behave at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.

Objects governed by quantum theory can be in several d
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Contact: Joe Winters
joseph.winters@iop.org
44-794-632-1473
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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