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Harvard Team Makes Programmable Logic from Nanowires

Nanowires made into logic tiles could be basis of low-power nanoprocessors

3 min read

9 February 2011—Transistors made from silicon-clad germanium nanowires—much smaller than traditional transistors—have for the first time been built into programmable "logic tiles," say researchers at Harvard University. Such tiles, layered together, could be the foundation for miniature processors that could control microrobots or run implantable medical monitors.

Professor Charles Lieber and his colleagues demonstrated silicon/germanium nanowire field-effect transistors (FETs) back in 2006; they were only 18 nanometers across and outperformed ordinary silicon FETs. But they were hard to manufacture with any consistency. "Researchers like myself like to say how good they are, but they just haven’t been reproducible enough to assemble into larger circuits," Lieber says.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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