Computers of the future will use atoms instead of chips for memory. That’s a simplified way of saying that within the next few years, we can expect miniaturization to go into the atomic level to bring to the consumer and the office more power computers that require significantly less power and possess lesser footprints. Using nanotechnology advances, the computers that we know today will become more powerful and more energy efficient and can fit more snugly inside a handbag.
What we have today
Computers have evolved from using vacuum tubes in their earliest incarnation to transistors in the 60s to integrated circuits of the 70s and to Very Large Scale Integrated circuits (VLSI) of the 80s. The latest VLSI has reached its maximum miniaturization potentials using Lithography to engineer the laptops, netbooks and mobile hand-held phones and gadgets we use today. It’s a landmark technology of the 20th century. But Lithography can only go so far. The microprocessor chips that power the computing gadgets in our hands house millions of transistors in lithographed wafer thin circuit in multiple layers inside those chips. To get them more powerful with ever decreasing sizes and lower power requirements, we need a new technology. We’re headed for something far tinier.
The New Technology for the 21st Century
Tiny means in the vicinity of a billionth of a meter or around 1/500th the width of a hair strand. That’s mathematically called nano. And the engineering technologies behind working at such a microscopic atomic-sized level of parts fall within the ambit of nanotechnology. The benefits behind nanotechnology are so immensely far-reaching; they redefine the technology landscape to open new possibilities that are mostly considered impossible or at least expensive in today’s world.
Computers are among the first to get there. A nanocomputer chip designed at the molecular level is expected to be 3-4 magnitude orders smaller than the smallest chip in the market today and their computing power doubled or tripled. It offers the next generation of computer chip design and manufacture with greater possibilities after exhausting the most that current Lithography VLSI can offer.
In the near future, expect to boot up a PC in no time. If you’ve ever started a PC or laptop, you know it can be excruciatingly slow. With a new nanotechnology derivative called nanomagnetics that can provide faster memory chips called MRAMs, waiting for the PC to boot up can be banished forever. The new MRAMs are non-volatile memory storage chips that remember virtually all that it captured before power is lost. That makes it useful as a computer DRAM. It is also expected to be employed in other mission critical areas like databases and sensors that require instance access to large quantities of data with minute powering requirements. Smart cards that have embedded chips will get a boost with larger data storage capacities that can contain a person’s entire life history.
When to Expect It
Nanotechnology is real. Realizing this promise is only a matter of time as engineers are perfecting the manufacturing processes for commercial-grade nanotech products to reach the market at the end of the next decade. Grade schoolers of today just might get their mobile phones on a ring by then. In the meantime, expect mobile phones and netbooks to get just incremental improvements in features, nothing radical until the first nanotech atom computers become available. GP
Article from articlesbase.com