Organic Nanocomputers Soon to Hit the Scene

When we speak of organic, we’re usually talking about health, sustainable farming methods, food, a way of life. Now, let’s talk about computers.

Our computers today are based on silicon transistors. Now, I’m not an electrical engineer so I don’t pretend to understand exactly how they work, but here’s the central point: Silicon chips have tiny, tiny grooves in them that serve as on/off switches for electronic signals. Each on/off pathway is a transistor. The more transistors you can fit on a chip, the more calculations it can make.

Since Intel developed the first silicon-based computer chip in the late 60’s, technology has advanced in making these chips chock full of many more transistors, jacking up computer speed as we get better at cramming more into the chip.

silicon chipThe problem with this approach is, on the scale that we are currently functioning in, we can only fit in so much on the chip until there is simply no space left and we hit a limit.

Enter organic nanoscale electric circuits. A nanoscale is scale that is molecular in size, using the actual organic molecules to convey the electric signals instead of having them travel through a small, but still not nearly molecular, sized groove in the pathways of a silicon chip.

Researchers of this new technology say that they have succeeded in coupling together several contacts in an electric circuit, and doing so has enabled them to produce prototype computer electronics on the nanoscale.

“We have succeeded in placing several transistors consisting of nano-wires together on a nano device. It is a first step towards realization of future electronic circuitry based on organic materials – a possible substitute for today’s silicon-based technologies. This offers the possibility of making computers in different ways in the future,” said Thomas Bjørnholm, Director of the Nano-Science Center, Department of Chemistry at University of Copenhagen.

The revolutionary capabilities of this type of technology could be enormous, as well as dangerous. You can get much smaller than the molecular level, except if you go quantum, which we’re really far from figuring out how to do. Never mind that though. Just know that, with organic nanocomputers, computing speed could go up by a factor of thousands.

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