HP scientists have developed a layer of molecules just three-billionths of a meter thick that can help store data during a computing operation without using traditional semiconductors.
This is yet another piece of technology from HP that could lead to quantum computers one day.
In a paper published today in the Journal of Applied Physics, the researchers report that they've built a functioning "crossbar latch"--an electronic switch that can flip a binary 0 to a 1 and vice versa, and preserve the output of that computation for use in subsequent ones--without using the electronic transistors that form the building blocks of today's computers.
In addition, the switch, whose key component is just a single layer of molecules thick, can restore weakened electrical signals so the distinction between 0's and 1's stays crisp. The demonstration proves a design HP patented in 2003, and could pave the way for future computers that operate without silicon transistors, which are falling prey to the quantum mechanical effects that govern the subatomic realm as their circuitry shrinks to ever-smaller sizes.