NANO Technology – Small is Beautiful

November 1st, 2009  |  Published in Technology

When was it conceived?
Robert A.Heinlein in his 1942 short story ‘Waldo’, wrote about a mechanical genius, who used a technology by which he could move his hands and fingers to remotely control microsurgeries from both outside as well as inside the body.

When did it become Popular?
1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage (whose remake is scheduled for release next year) by Richard Fleischer. In this story, a submarine is shrunk to a ‘micrometer’ in length and injected into a person’s body in order to repair a clot.

Today, the ‘submarine’ idea has moved on, but the concept of shrinking things and making molecular-sized precision repairs continue to be worked on.

Just last month, Ray Kurzweil, inventor and scientist predicted that by 2026, research in nanotechnology will enable the use of blood cell-sized nanobots that can keep us forever young.

These nanobots will swarm through the body, repairing bones, muscles, arteries and brain cells. Whatever the future holds, the chances are it will be small, really small.

Chip Facts
The Intel 4004 microprocessor circuit line width was 10 microns or 10,000 nanometers. Today Intel’s microprocessors have circuit line widths of 0.065 microns or 65 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. By comparison, a human hair is approximately 100 microns or 100,000 nanometers.

Future Technology
Intel is researching transistors and nanotechnology for future microprocessor applications including non-silicon materials called “III-V compound semiconductors,” the III-V standing for their position on the periodic table. III-V materials in the transistor channel may allow the current to flow more easily as they have no impurities leading to high speed transistors and a dramatic reduction of voltage.


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