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April 7th, 2005
Bernie Meyerson, an IBM vice president, said alternatives to silicon will have to be found by 2020. Nanotechnology, a radically different approach to manufacturing on an atomic scale, offers the best potential for both the tools and materials that could enhance or replace silicon.
Traditionally, chip makers take a bulk material and winnow it down into a structure that they want. With nanotechnology, scientists envision starting with individual molecules and getting them to assemble themselves into larger electronic structures that can do the equivalent of what a chip does, which is store data or turn a switch on or off. It's the opposite of taking a bulk material like silicon and winnowing it down to the right structure.
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