Tuesday, 11 Mar, 2008 Science
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Computer the Size of a Molecule Imitates Brain Work

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Scientists created a device that is not larger than a few molecules and that is claimed to mimic how the most complicated computer – human brain works.

The computer can perform 16 times more operations than a common computer transistor. Researchers expect the device to complete even 1,000 times more operations.

The tiny computer is made of a duroquinone, a molecule looking like a hexagonal plate with four cones attached to it. Duroquinone is less than a nanometer large, which is hundreds times smaller than a wavelength of a visible light. The device is formed with 17 duroquinone molecules with one molecule positioned in the center and 16 others making up a ring. This wonder sits on a gold surface.

The computer is operated with the help of electrical impulses transmitted through the electrically conductive needle. The central molecule shifts around in different ways, causing the 16 surrounding molecules shift too.

Anirban Bandyopadhyay, an artificial intelligence and molecular electronics expert at the National Institute for Materials Science at Tsukuba in Japan, explained that the work of the device resembles the way brain cells interact.

A pulse sent to a central molecule, having four cones and linked to another 16 duroquinones will result in almost 4.3 billion different operations if compared to two different outcomes a normal computer transistor can perform.

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