Campus & Community

A giant step toward miniaturization

1 min read

Nanotechnology makes the right connections

Incredibly tiny integrated circuits could have applications well beyond faster, smaller computers and cell phones with features only fantasized about today. For example, nanocircuits might make possible sensors that can detect a single virus in your blood. “It could turn manufacturing of high-end technology upside down,” says Charles Lieber, Mark Hyman Jr. Professor of Chemistry. “It could affect all electronic circuits in the world. And that’s really cool.” This is the first time that bridging two different types of materials has been done at the nanometer level. The implications for more efficient electronics and sensing devices are obvious. Lieber is already working with Intel Corp., the world’s largest producer of electronic chips. But both of them recognize that a great deal more work must be done before the new technique can get from the basement of a building on the Harvard campus to the floor of a factory manufacturing chips to power the next electronic revolution. Lieber, however, is already looking beyond the products that others are thinking about. “What motivates us most is a fundamental understanding of interactions that occur at the nanometer level between metals and nanostructures made from semiconductors like silicon,” he says.