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Scientists Create World’s Smallest Microchip

December 14, 2010

Taiwanese scientists unveiled a new microchip which is reportedly the smallest device of its kind ever manufactured, measuring just nine nanometers across.

While it is far smaller (one nanometer is equal to just one billionth of a meter) than existing microchips, it has a far greater memory capacity than its larger counterparts, researchers at the state-run National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL) told members of the press Tuesday.

“A chip using the new memory technology has about 20 times the storage capacity of memory units now available on the market but it consumes just one 200th of the electricity,” Ho Chia-hua, the head of the team behind the new microchip technology, told Radio Taiwan International. “Using this technology on one square centimeter, you can save up to a whole library’s worth of writing materials. It does not use a lot of electricity. There is unlimited potential with such a small product.”

Laboratory General Director Yang Fu-liang told the AFP that, using this technology, a one square centimeter chip would be able to store one million pictures or 100 hours of 3D movies. However, as Digitimes Analyst Nobunaga Chai told the French news agency, it will take “several years” before the technology would be available for “commercial use.”

According to the official NDL website, the company, which was founded in 1988, “has been playing a significant role in support of universities in Taiwan for research and development in advance semiconductor process technologies, and educating and training high-tech people for the microelectronics industries.”

“Together with researchers and engineers from all over the country in the nano area, NDL aims at efficiently developing research competence and expertise in nano-science and technology,” the company’s homepage continues. “All our staffs are making efforts to provide a better infrastructure for academic research, such that researchers and graduate students from universities and other research institutes may more effectively use the various software and hardware facilities at NDL to perform high-profile research at an internationally competitive level.”

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