Our ability to shrink transistors down to nanoscale devices have led to continued advances in computing technology, but physical limits will soon prevent this trend from continuing. Nanotechnology provides some possible solutions to take our computing into the future – but we should also consider how smaller, faster, better computers may impact our lives in both positive and negative ways.
As a result of participating in this program, visitors will be able to:
1. Understand that transistors are tiny nanoscale devices in our computers and our ability to shrink transistors down to smaller sizes leads to advances in computing.
2. Recognize there are barriers (heat, size, quantum effects) that prevent us from further shrinking transistors.
3. Identify how new nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes and graphene) and nanotechnologies (optical computing and spintronics/quantum computing) could overcome these barriers and lead to faster, better, smaller computers.
4. Recognize that the future of computers holds very promising applications that could improve our lives in a variety of ways, but we need to be aware of the risks (for example – privacy concerns with our personal data) that come with more advanced, capable computers.
Development of this product was supported by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center headquartered at Harvard University (PHY06-46094), the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and University of New Hampshire (EEC-0425826), with support from the National Science Foundation. Packaging and dissemination for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.
Museum of Science, Boston