Nanoelectronics aims to understand and harness the power of materials at the nanometre (one billionth of a metre) scale. This work holds the potential to create computer circuits orders of magnitude smaller than those found on today’s microchips.
Over the past decade, the number of circuits and switches incorporated into each square centimetre of microchip has increased more than 100-fold. Conventional components can only shrink so far, though.
Enter nanoelectronics, a new way of thinking about the physics of computing, and which holds the potential to create circuits thousands of times smaller than those possible with current technology.
Launched in 1999, CIFAR’s Nanoelectronics program focuses both on the fundamental science of how materials behave at the nanometre (one billionth of a metre) scale and on engineering issues such as creating new nanomaterials used for both research and applications.
Working with devices 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, Nanoelectronics members have created photonic crystals that trap and channel light, three-dimensional DNA structures that organize metals and nanoparticles, and nanocrystals that use the spin state of individual electrons to store and transfer information.
In time, these new technologies will likely converge with the existing microchips in ways that will revolutionize the electronics industry.
The program brings together internationally recognized researchers who have made a broad range of contributions to the field of nanoelectronics. Members are drawn from across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel. They include chemists, physicists, materials scientists, theorists, and electrical and computer engineers.