Scientists Build Computer Out of Atom-Thick Material
It's an important step forward in nanotube development
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 26, 2013 7:38 AM CDT
In this Dec., 2006 photomicrograph from The Nakao Hamaguchi Laboratory of the University of Tokyo, a "carbon nanotube ramen" in a bowl with diameter measuring one-thousandth of a millimeter is shown.   (AP Photo/The Nakao Hamaguchi Laboratory of the University of Tokyo, HO)

(Newser) – A team of Stanford scientists has built a working computer out of carbon nanotubes, a nigh-impossible feat that could herald silicon's eventual replacement. Granted, the device (which is named "Cedric," the BBC notes) isn't terribly useful, containing as many transistors as the earliest 1950s computers. But it can run a basic OS, perform calculations, and switch between processes. "It really is a computer in every sense of the word," the project's lead electrical engineer tells the Wall Street Journal .

Carbon nanotubes are rolled out of sheets of pure carbon that are one atom thick. A bundle of 10,000 would be about the width of a human hair. They're extremely promising conductors, but must be grown like crystals, and tend to develop impurities. "People said you would never be able to manufacture this stuff," one Stanford engineer says. The results could extend the theoretical limits of Moore's Law (up to a point anyway), because the nanotubes have the potential to be vastly superior to silicon, CNET observes.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Sep 28, 2013 1:08 PM CDT
Sep 28, 2013 12:49 PM CDT
Not to be the focal point for paranoid, fanatic ridicule here, but what about the "Cylon consideration" involved in such technological trailblazing? Cast aside television with it being an inflationary, exaggerated, romanticized world of nonsense, there is always some tiny morsel of worthwhile consideration or inspiration in such imaginative flights of fancy as Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, etc... Not to mention how many technological inspirations have seen their genesis in the world of science-fiction.,.. Anyway, I'm rambling here, but there is a considerable and note-worthy potential in this new world of what is literally transcending the boundary of mechanical technology into that of real, bio and organic technology. Think about it, carbon nano-tube computing. We're literally talking about organic computations via a mechanical platform of sorts. It's a hybrid unification of earth and machine. Or if you like, a marriage of the machinations of man's creative imaginations and ingenuity with the very organic, physical building blocks that make our creativity possible in the first place. That's all fairly convoluted because I'm not really very good at commenting on this sort of thing, but at the least, we're looking at a potential for a DATA or a LORE within a hundred years minimum of pioneering this stuff.
Sep 27, 2013 10:42 AM CDT
Sweet. Atomic porn.