MemristorA memristor, the first fundamentally new electronic circuit device in more than 100 years. (Courtesy: S. Williams)

Fifty years ago, Gordon Moore noted that as researchers shrank the size of integrated circuits, the number of transistors doubled every two years and chips grew faster, more powerful, and less expensive. By 1999, Moore's Law's relentless pursuit of smaller, faster chips had pushed features below 200 nanometers, the size of a bacteria. Today, many chips have 14-nanometer features and cram billions of transistors onto fingernail-sized slivers of silicon. Such progress comes with a cost. Such small features make it easy for electrons to leak out or jump from one wire to another. They are also vulnerable to random fluctuations in current or buildups in heat that would pass unnoticed in larger devices. Researchers hope to resolve some of these problems by building devices so small, they interact with their environment in ways that are too subtle to notice in larger devices. For example, the memory resistor, or memristor, manipulates only a handful of atoms to produce large changes in resistance. Those changes can store vast amounts of data in very small spaces. Another avenue of research hopes to exploit quantum phenomena, such as the spins of individual (spintronics) or waves created by energy moving through a device (valleytronics), to capture, store, and eventually process information.

The Chemistry of Nature, Reimagined

MOFs and COFs
Jan 05, 2017

Nature uses complex molecules to perform miraculous feats, such as turning sunlight into sugars. A new class of crystals is making that kind of complexity accessible to humans. Three nanoscientists—Omar Yaghi, Joseph Hupp and Thomas Bein—discuss their truly transformational way of doing chemistry.

DNA Origami: Twisting the Basis of Life in New Directions

DNA-based smiley faces
Jun 15, 2016

A new generation of researchers is re-imagining DNA as a building block rather than the carrier of our genetic code. They call it DNA origami. In a roundtable discussion, Shawn Douglas, Paul Rothemund and William Shih discuss how they are using DNA to better understand proteins, craft new medicines, and even perform computations.

From Scotch Tape to Deli Sandwiches: Future 2D Materials

Aug 25, 2014

The emerging ability to precisely engineer 2D materials is opening design pathways to, among other things, future-generation microelectronics devices, improved batteries, and even new types of liquid crystals.

Layer by Layer: The Ascent of Nanoscale Two-Dimensional Materials

Aug 25, 2014

Three nanoscience researchers - Tony Heinz, David Muller, and Joshua Goldberger - discuss the emerging subfield in nanoscience and nanotechnology known as 2D Materials, as in Two-Dimensional Materials.

The Next Life of Silicon

Apr 04, 2014

We live in the Age of Silicon, yet silicon microprocessors have begun to show signs of age, and for all its flexibility, silicon may be part of the problem. Is silicon up for the challenge, or are we entering a new age? We invited five experts to discuss the future of silicon.

How Atomic Scale Devices Are Transforming Electronics

Apr 28, 2012

With advances such as a working transistor made from a single atom, scientists and technologists are learning to measure and manipulate matter to create fundamentally different electronic devices. 

Disturbing the Nanosphere

Oct 17, 2011

Cornell University researchers, including KIC’s J.C. Séamus Davis and post-doctoral fellow Mohammad Hamidian, deliberately create atomic-level disorder in order to probe the workings of heavy fermion compounds. 

Nano Meets Astro: A Dialogue with MacArthur Recipients Michal Lipson and Nergis Mavalvala

Jan 02, 2011

A conversation with Michal Lipson of Cornell University and Nergis Mavalvala of MIT, 2010 MacArthur Fellowship winners, on the intersections between nanoscience and astrophysics.

Nanoscience Made Easy

Apr 14, 2008

The advance of engineering at extremely small scales has led to marvels of manufacturing, producing tiny transistors and circuits so close-packed that palm-sized devices now have the computing power and memory once held by room-sized machines. 

Frontiers in Nanoscience

The molecular abacus. (Courtesy of Jim Gimzewski, University of California at Los Angeles)
Jun 25, 2007

In the 21st century, scientists will not only use molecules as building blocks for creating vital new technologies, but possibly as the basis for creating synthetic life.

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