Researchers from IBM plan to showcase two discoveries that could lead to the use of nanotechnology in microprocessor construction.
The projects centre on the use of molecules or even individual atoms to store digital information.
IBM suggested that they could one day lead to the development of exponentially larger storage chips and faster processors at a fraction of the size of current chips.
The first of the discoveries could even allow for the storage of data on individual atoms.
Big Blue researchers found that when individual iron atoms were arranged on a magnetic sheet, they were able to calculate the magnetic 'anistrophy' of the individual atoms.
Anistrophy is an important calculation, according to the researchers, because it allows scientists to determine whether or not the atom is capable of maintaining a specific magnetic orientation.
If a constant orientation can be established, the atoms could then be used to represent 1s and 0s in the binary system used for computing.
Being able to store data on this level could allow for as much as 1,000 terabits of information, or roughly 30,000 full-length films, to be stored on a device the size of an iPod.
The second discovery could allow for the use of individual molecules as switches within the logic gates used by processors.
The researchers found that hydrogen atoms within naphthalocyanine molecules could be manipulated to consistently create the 'on' and 'off' states of a switch.
Switches, usually in the form of transistors, are the key component of electronic circuits within a computational device.
IBM claimed that the molecular circuits could allow for chips that could fit on the head of a pin, yet perform computations as quickly as today's supercomputers.
The company plans to publish further detail in an upcoming edition of the journal Science.
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