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The arrangement of electrons at the edges provides the computational output. The electron arrangements of QCA are controlled by an external clock and operate according to the rules of Boolean logic. Another potential architecture is that of "crossbar switching" in which molecules are placed at the intersections of nanometer-scale wires. These molecules provide coupling between the wires and provide computing functionality.

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The fabrication of these nanoscale systems is also a critical area of investigation. Current ICs are manufactured in a parallel process in which short wavelength light exposes an entire IC in one flash, taking only a fraction of a second. Serial processes, in which each device is exposed separately, are too slow as of early to expose billions of devices in a reasonable amount of time.

Serial processes that are capable of attaining nanometer, but not molecular, resolution include using beams of electrons or ions to write patterns on an IC.


Atomic resolution can be achieved by using currents from very sharp tips, a process called scanning probe lithography, to write on surfaces one atom at a time, but this technique is too slow for manufacturing unless thousands of tips can be used in parallel. It is reasonable to search for nanoscale particles, such as molecules, that do not require difficult fabrication steps.

An alternative to the direct patterning of nanoscale system components is that of self assembly, a process in which small particles or molecules arrange themselves.

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Regardless of the method used to create arrays of nanostructures, organizing the nanodevices into useful architectures, getting data in and out, and performing computing are problems that have not yet been solved. In summary, nanocomputing technology has the potential for revolutionizing the way that computers are used. However, in order to achieve this goal, major progress in device technology, computer architectures, and IC processing must first be accomplished. It may take decades before revolutionary nanocomputing technology becomes commercially feasible.

Coontz, Robert, and Phil Szurami, eds. A Journey into the Future of Microelectronics.


Oxford University Press, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Retrieved December 18, from Encyclopedia. Products sometimes referred to by this term include: Nanocomputers and Swarm Intelligence. A Brief Overview of Nanoelectronic Devices. Retrieved August 3, from http: Retrieved 19 April Ultra-mobile PC 2-in-1 Phablet Tabletop. Digital wristwatch Calculator watch Smartwatch Smartglasses Smart ring.

Microcontroller Nanocomputer Single-board computer Smartdust Wireless sensor network. At that point, smallscale quantum mechanical efects, such as the tunneling of electrons through barriers made from matter or electric fields, will begin to dominate the essential effects that permit a mass-action semiconductor device to operate Still, an electronic nanocomputer will continue to represent information in the storage and movement of electrons.

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Nowadays, most eletronic nanocomputers are created through microscopic circuits using nanolithography. Nanolithography is a term used to describe the branch of nanotechnology concerned with the study and application of a number of techniques for creating nanometer-scale structures, meaning patterns with at least one lateral dimension between the size of an individual atom and approximately nm.

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A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, much smaller than the width of a single human hair. The word lithography is used because the method of pattern generation is essentially the same as writing, only on a much smaller scale. Nanolithography is used during the fabrication of leading-edge semiconductor integrated circuits nanocircuitry or nanoelectromechanical systems NEMS. A technology that allows for smaller sizes than photolithography is that of electron-beam lithography.

Using an electron beam to draw a pattern nanometer by nanometer, incredibly small sizes on the order of 20nm may be achieved. Electron-beam lithography is much more expensive and time consuming than photolithography, however, making it a difficult sell for industry applications of nanolithography.

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Since electron-beam lithography functions more like a dot-matrix printer than a flash-photograph, a job that would take five minutes using photolithography will take upwards of five hours with electron-beam lithography.