Parallel Fabrication of Magnetic Nanocomputing Architectures by Electrospinning

Period of Performance: 03/31/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Physical Sciences, Inc.
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Notre Dame
940 Grace Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Institution POC


The Air Force has expressed an interest in identification and evaluation of nanoscale device architectures capable of functional logical operation in a VLSI format. However, fundamental limits prevent straightforward extension of optical lithography to nanoscaled device fabrication. Non-conventional lithography techniques such as x-ray and particle based methods (e.g., electron beam lithography) possess the requisite resolution, albeit at very high cost and process complexity. Here PSI and their STTR partner the University of Notre Dame, propose a facile electrospinning technique to fabricate nanoscale computing devices based on the Magnetic Quantum Dot Cellular Automata (MQCA) architecture. MQCA can perform Boolean logic operations and could be interfaced with silicon CMOS circuits for hybrid computing systems. The parallel fabrication of multiple MQCA wires and binary signal transmission in these wires will be demonstrated at the end of the Phase I period. Building on the results obtained from the Phase I study, during Phase II we will fabricate and other MQCA devices, such as logic gates, using the same self-assembly technique. In addition, the integration of several individual MQCA devices to work in concert for more complex algorithm demonstration will be initiated during Phase II. BENEFIT: The ability to fabricate functional devices of smaller and smaller size is essential to much of modern science and technology. The most successful example is provided by microelectronics, where smaller has meant greater performance ever since the invention of integrated circuits: more components per chip, faster operation, lower cost, and less power consumption. Today s armored fighting vehicle carries an ever-growing array of electronic sub-systems which add new capabilities. Future Air Force systems will require that all electrical and electronic components operate at higher efficiencies with reduced dimension, thus the devices need to be further miniaturized. The materials technology at nanoscale dimensions offers a broad range of applications in micro and nanoelectronics, molecular electronics, and growth of novel materials, which will advance US capabilities for a range of science and technology objectives. The immediate applications for the proposed MQCA paradigm are in low-power computation. Magnetic circuitry would decrease power requirements and form factors for electronic devices, so the gear carried and used by soldiers could be lighter, last longer on a power charge, and be able to do more tasks. Ultra-small circuits could mediate between electronic devices and molecules, enabling close integration of electronics with sensors and with living organisms. Capabilities such as real-time chemical detection, rapid image processing, image recognition, and natural language processing could be integrated organically with wearable gear and could greatly enhance the ability of fighters to understand and react to events around them.