Friday, February 04, 2005

A molecular replacement for the transistor?

The Economist Feb 3rd 2005

Hewlett-Packard's researchers have been tinkering in a new area known as molecular electronics. Instead of using light to etch a transistor circuit on a wafer of silicon, they propose to fabricate tiny wires. The molecular-scale alternative proposed to the transistor is called a “crossbar latch”. The latch works by running an electrical current down a signal wire, through two switches. Controlling the voltage (the quantity of energy possessed by electrons moving down the wire) on the switches allows the latch to either work as an amplifier, restoring a signal to full strength, or as an inverter, converting a “1” to a “0”.

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