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Quantum dot amplifiers… that go up to 11 2010-May-28 at 17:21 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Moore’s Law reaches its limit with quantum dot amplifier, by Dana Blankenhorn, 25-May-2010

A Russian-Japanese team has created a quantum dot amplifier, an “artificial atom” that can amplify an electronic signal, a central electronic function. The announcement follows by three years the same team’s creation of a quantum dot laser.

Quantum dots are often called artificial atoms because, while they are made up of multiple atoms, they can be treated in theory like single atoms, and their electron shells can be manipulated.

The ultimate goal of quantum dot researchers is the construction of a quantum computer — replicating all of a computer’s functions on a nano-level. But the dots have other uses as well. As I wrote here in January they can make nifty solar cells, too.

They don’t really go up to 11.  But they do start to address a fundamental limit to Moore’s Law: namely, that even though we’re making chips with smaller and smaller electronic pathways (Intel is manufacturing as small as 32nm right now), when we finally reach the size of individual atoms, we can’t go any smaller with current silicon-based technology.

Quantum computers take us off that path of miniaturization of existing technology, on to a whole new set of technologies that sidestep the problem, and carry us forward into a newer, far more powerful computing future.

And, like he said… this is good for the development of solar cells too.

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