Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Innovation
Next Generation Data Center Is Here!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Tech Innovation: IBM Opens a Path Beyond Silicon Chips
Tech Innovation: IBM Opens a Path Beyond Silicon Chips

By Jennifer LeClaire
March 25, 2013 12:24AM

    Bookmark and Share
Researchers at IBM have applied a positively charged ionic liquid electrolyte to an insulating oxide material -- vanadium dioxide -- and successfully converted the material to a metallic state. The material held its metallic state until a negatively charged ionic liquid electrolyte was applied, to convert it back to its original, insulating state.
 



IBM is reporting a scientific materials breakthrough at the atomic level that could pave the way for a new class of non-volatile memory and logic chips that would use less power than today's silicon-based devices.

The breakthrough leaves behind conventional electronic means that operate today's semiconducting devices in favor of a new way to operate chips using tiny ionic currents. These currents are streams of charged atoms that could mimic the event-driven way in which the human brain operates.

"Our ability to understand and control matter at atomic scale dimensions allows us to engineer new materials and devices that operate on entirely different principles than the silicon-based information technologies of today," said Stuart Parkin, an IBM Fellow at IBM Research.

"Going beyond today's charge-based devices to those that use minuscule ionic currents to reversibly control the state of matter has the potential for new types of mobile devices. Using these devices and concepts in novel three-dimensional architectures could prevent the information technology industry from hitting a technology brick wall."

A Droplet of Ionic Liquid

Modern computers typically use semiconductors made with CMOS process technologies. It has long been thought that these chips would double in performance and decrease in size and cost every two years. But the materials and techniques to develop and build CMOS chips are rapidly approaching physical and performance limitations, and new solutions may soon be needed to develop higher performance and lower-power devices.

IBM research scientists showed that it is possible to reversibly transform metal oxides between insulating and conductive states by the insertion and removal of oxygen ions driven by electric fields at oxide-liquid interfaces. Once the oxide materials, which are innately insulating, are transformed into a conducting state, the IBM experiments showed, the materials maintain a stable metallic state even when power to the device is removed.

According to IBM, this non-volatile property means that chips using devices that operate using this phenomenon could be used to store and transport data in a more efficient, event-driven manner instead of requiring the state of the devices to be maintained by constant electrical currents.

IBM researchers applied a positively charged ionic liquid electrolyte to an insulating oxide material -- vanadium dioxide -- and successfully converted the material to a metallic state. The material held its metallic state until a negatively charged ionic liquid electrolyte was applied, to convert it back to its original, insulating state.

Understanding Implications

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said IBM's advance is an interesting first step considering the industry is rapidly approaching a place where silicon will no longer be able to scale down to make smaller and smaller micro circuits. In other words, he said, it will be physically impossible to go past the atomic stage.

"IBM has come up with a way of running ionized electrolytes through the metal oxide and, depending on the type of ions running through the electrolytes, they can switch the electrolytes from being an insulator to being a conductor," King said. "When you are ready to turn them on and off you simply start running the electrolyte through it.

"From a practical standpoint, if you could make commercial products based on this, which is one big if, a computing chip could run on a tiny fraction of the electricity of today's microprocessor."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Innovation
1.   Researchers Tout Battery Breakthrough
2.   Watson's First Consumer-Facing Gig
3.   Internet of Things Comes to DIYers
4.   GoTenna: Work-Thru for Dead Zones
5.   'May I Help You?' Asks Jibo the Robot


advertisement
Researchers Tout Battery Breakthrough
Lithium anode could triple capacity.
Average Rating:
GoTenna: Work-Thru for Dead Zones
Turns phone into texting Walkie-Talkie.
Average Rating:
Apple iWatch Set To Rock the Market
The name of the game: brand loyalty.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
New 'Backoff' Malware Slips Undetected into Retail Systems
'Malicious actors' are using a new variety of malware to access consumer payment data remotely through point-of-sale systems, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security.
 
IBM Beefs Up Identity Intelligence Security Solutions
Big Blue is betting big on identity intelligence. IBM just acquired a private firm with security software to govern user access to apps and data across cloud and on-premise environments.
 
USB Security Flaw Lets Hackers Hijack PCs
Hackers can use the firmware that controls USB functions to take control of computers, say security experts. That means there may be a new class of attack for which there are no defenses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
AMD's ARM-Based Opteron Out in $3K Dev Kit
It's dubbed "Seattle" and it's AMD's first 64-bit ARM-based Opteron processor. The low-power chip is being released as part of AMD’s Opteron A1100-series developer kit, and aimed at high-end data center needs.
 
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
BlackBerry Messenger Now Available on Windows Phone
BlackBerry's free Messenger chatting and voice app is out of beta and widely available for Windows Phone users, the company said. BBM offers secure messaging, Groups, Voice, Channels and more.
 
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.