Friday, April 22, 2005

 

Moore magazines please

As an additional note to my comments on Moore's law, it is interesting to see that Intel have just forked $10,000 for an original copy of Electronics magazine containing the first published article about Moore's law. The payout comes at the end of a marathon search of the world's magazine hording populace by the computer chip company, trying to track down one of the most significant papers on computing of recent times. The prize has gone to David Clark, an engineer from Surrey. The full story can be found on the BBC website here.
 

Moore's Law and Molecular Electronics

This week saw the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the empirical Moore’s Law. The law, first proposed by Intel co-founder Gorgon Moore, predicts that the number of transistors contained on a computer chip will double approximately every 18 months, with this increase in transistor density comes an exponential growth in computing power.

There are strong indications that we are approaching the time when this dramatic increase, which has done so much to shape the way the world’s economy has changed, is coming to an end. This is due to the inherent susceptibility of silicon (the primary component of integrated circuits) to information leakage (i.e. quantum tunnelling of electrons from the bulk material near to the transistor surface causing a corruption in the data being transferred), at small scales.

In order to continue the trend of Moore’s law we need smaller electronic components to occupy integrated circuits, components that instead of being hindered by the effects of quantum mechanics, take advantage of them. The ultimate prospect for miniaturisation is in the form of single molecule electronics.

Molecules fulfil several of the required criteria: they are small, reproducible in large quantities, take advantage of quantum effects instead of being hindered by them; in molecules electron energies are quantize, unlike the bulk silicon case. Another reason for choosing to work with individual molecules is that molecules can be pi conjugated suggesting that the conductance can be controlled by changing the molecular conformation, this is an effect that is still relatively un-investigated in the field of molecular electronics and also the focus of my personal research. The final advantage of using molecules is the fact that some may be able to self assemble (something I intend to discuss in greater detail at a later time), allowing the, relatively, rapid fabrication of large scale structures.

Moore’s law is no longer just a law for the computing industry, it is a major component of modern economical growth. Economic growth, for a company for example, is achieved by having an advantage over your competition, whether this advantage is in the form of a new product, market or most commonly a technological edge. This edge is often due to superior computing power, either in a theoretical role or practical application, an edge achieved through the continuation of Moore’s law. Molecule electronics are still along way from practical applications, but with incessant march of forward for ever superior computing power, by increased transistor density, they are will be an essential part of the future world of both computing and global economics.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

New Blog

There now exists a good number of blogs on the web dealing with the subject of Nanotechnology. These range from the strong Dexlerian view of the foresight Institute, and the Centre for Responsible Nanotechnology to the strong anti-Drexler soft nanotechnology blogs, my favorite of which belongs to a former Lecturer and supervisor of mine from last year, at Sheffield University, Richard Jones' Soft Machines. But now there's something new caught my attention, struggling against these more senior writers for readers on the information super highway, are a group of students from the University of South Carolina. In there new venture, News from the Bottom, a pun on the famous Feynman lecture of 1959, they attempt to give the students of nanotechnology an easy rout to publicising there thoughts and feelings on the future of Nanotechnology, particularly

"epistemological, historical,professional, ethical, legal, and societal implications of nanotechnology and converging technologies."

Although most of the articles are relatively short, they do make for some interesting reading. Written in part by non-scientists they make, I believe, a refreshing addition to the web-based Nanotechnology debate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

 

Nanotechnology Blog

Welcome to my Blog on Nanotechnology.

I am currently a research student in the nanomaterials group at the University of Cranfield, UK. My main interests are in the field of single molecule electronics, specifically there creation from Langmuir Bloggett films and molecular self assembly. I also take a wider interest in Nanotechnology in general, specifically its social and ethical implications, as well as its persecption by the general public. I intend to post here my thoughts issues arising in the world of nanotechnology, as well as some details about my current work.

Thanks for reading

Ben

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