May 28, 2010 | By Larry Clark | No Comments »
Categories: Computer science, Engineering
Tags: circuits, computers, Jose Delgado-Frias, material, medical devices, microprocessors, nanocircuits, nanotechnology, nanotubes, research, space, Washington State University, WSU
Story and video by Becky Philips for WSU Today
Cars, computers, cell phones, DVDs, and life-saving medical technology – our modern world thrives on the power of electronics and integrated circuits. Today, the microprocessor — the workhorse behind most of these devices — is set to undergo an extreme makeover that promises to push the possibilities even further.
Josè Delgado-Frias, professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Centennial Boeing Chair in Computer Engineering, is working to merge the fields of digital technology and nanotechnology — the field of study which develops materials and devices smaller than 100 nanometers in size.
Using carbon nanotubes and FinFETS—tiny electronic gates used in digital components—Dr. Delgado-Frias’ research stands to advance the world of electronics by producing computers and other digital devices with faster speed, reduced size, improved reliability, and wide-ranging adaptability.
CMOS vs. nanocircuits
Contemporary integrated circuits and microprocessors are based almost entirely on a technology known as CMOS. The problem with CMOS is that it allows leakage of electrical current along system pathways, ultimately wasting most of their power. With nanoelectronics, that leakage can be blocked — resulting in a sharp drop in power consumption along with decreased heat production.
The technology can also make computers run faster. In theory, FinFETS could increase processor speed by a magnitude of 10. Carbon nanotube-based microprocessors are projected to run up to 1,000 times faster.