Etch-A-Sketch Newest Chip Design Tool

Nano-sized wires can be drawn, erased using atomic microscope
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2008 11:57 AM CST
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(Newser) – Imagine a computer chip that could literally have wires drawn onto it and erased like an etch-a-sketch. That’s what University of Pittsburgh researchers have been able to create, Technology Review reports. To demonstrate the technology, researchers drew the tip of an atomic force microscope across the chip like a pencil, leaving nano-sized, conductive wires in its wake.

The possibilities for these rewritable circuits are vast. Though they probably won’t replace traditional silicon chips, they could be used to create super-dense memory – think 100 times denser than current magnetic technology. The patterns so far only hold their shape for 24 hours, but the researchers think they can be made more long-lived, and they’re testing that theory now.