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Light-Producing Nanotubes Could Mean Faster Chips

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the making-light-of-carbon dept.

Science 181

CannibalBob writes "From PCWorld: Researchers at IBM have used carbon molecules to emit light, a breakthrough that could replace silicon as the foundation of chips and lead to faster computers and telecommunication equipment. This is the first time light has ever been generated from a molecule by applying electricity. Read the article."

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First Time... (5, Funny)

c_oflynn (649487) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885133)

This is the first time light has ever been generated from a molecule by applying electricity

I always assumed with enough power ANYTHING could emit light.. if only for a brief time

Re:First Time... (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885169)

I always thought this was how an LED worked....

Re:First Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885435)

LED's are actually Several molecules.

First Time--where'd they pull it from? (1)

petronivs (633683) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885212)

Not only that, I didn't see it mentioned in the article. What is our honoured submitter smokin'?

Re:First Time... (5, Insightful)

aSiTiC (519647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885237)

I believe that the point is that a single molecule is emitting light. A light bulb utilizes billions of molecules of tungsten to emit light.

The whole point being that a carbon molecule/nanotube could be the equivalent of a light transistor in the optics world.

Re:First Time... (4, Informative)

L7_ (645377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885278)

a single molecule emits light whenever it makes a state transition... Its the phenomenon that caused the paradigm shift from classical to quantum mechanics.

That can't be the point.

Re:First Time... (4, Informative)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885423)

Yes, it is the point. Although it happens molecule by molecule when it happens in mass, there wasn't a way to control the applicatiion of a signal and stimulate emmision from a chosen molecule. Now there is. For the first time ever, *a* molecule is made to emit when electrically stimulated.

Single molecule? (1)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885579)

Single-crystal semiconductors don't count?

Re:First Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885309)

Hi
Tungsten molecules? It's an element!
Please pay attention in high-school chemistry okay?

Re:First Time... (2, Informative)

BTM1001 (662358) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885369)

Well, some of us went onto college chemistry. a molecule is simply a group of more than one atom that are bonded together. Like say the standard Oxygen in the atmosphere - it is a molocule, O2 - 2 atoms of Oxygen linked. Not sure if Tungon is the same naturally.

Re:First Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885448)

Some of also went on to college chemistry and learned how to spell "Tungsten"

Re:First Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885534)

God Bless America if that's the state of your knowledge. No wonder Dinesh is having a great time taking your jobs!

Re:First Time... (1, Redundant)

magnum3065 (410727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885275)

Well, Black Body Radiation is the phenomenon where something emits light as it is heated up, and yes this means that you can make pretty much anything give off light by making it really hot. This is how incandescent light bulbs work, the tungsten filament has a high resistance, so when electricity passes through it heats up and gives off light. Though this article is slim on the details, I imagine this new discovery does not involve simply causing the molecules to heat up to the point where they emit light. We all know the current problems processors have with heat dissipation, so I believe this is something that would be avoided.

Re:First Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885451)

How much light did your head give off coming up with that barely-intelligent thought.

The carbon nanotube... (4, Informative)

tellezj (612044) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885312)

would constitute a single molecule. Applying electricity to it, as pointed out in the article, they were able to produce light (1.5 micron). An LED, tungsten wire, or burning lump of coal are not made up of a single molecule, no more so than an ice cube is a single molecule of water. What this constitutes is an engineering first. What is left to be seen is if they can find useful applications and mass produce it.

Re:First Time... (3, Informative)

Hayzeus (596826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885346)

That would be from a SINGLE molecule; nanotubes are single molecules. More handy dandy info at IBMs nanonotube web site [ibm.com] .

THREE CHEERS FOR NON-CONSENSUAL PEDERASTY! (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885449)

Re:First Time... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885349)

... with enough power ANYTHING could emit light.. if only for a brief time

A classmate of mine managed to get an ordinary transistor to generate light. The case drew blood, where it hit his forehead. Yes, it was a very brief flash.

Someone else already pointed out that getting light out of a single molecule really is new. Unless you count burning Buckyballs.

I flog the dolphin to pokemon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885138)

i love pikachu

Re:I flog the dolphin to pokemon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885247)

Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! !!!

Nae-chan!!!

Kom-ba-wa!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885139)

first post!!!

First time? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885144)

How do light bulbs work? True, they burn as a side effect of being heated, but you apply electricity, and you [eventually] get light. Then there's the the whole laser thing... Florcent tubes?

Re:First time? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885244)

I believe they mean that the electricity directly creates light. In a regular light bulb, the electricity heats the element (tungsten in most cases), which then produces light from the heat. In chips, heat is a Bad Thing(tm), and getting it directly from electricity, and producing very little heat, would be a Good Thing(tm).

Balderdash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885474)

Gee, I wonder if they've ever heard of LED's. That turns electricity directly into light.

Re:First time? (4, Informative)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885301)

How do light bulbs work? True, they burn as a side effect of being heated, but you apply electricity, and you [eventually] get light. Then there's the the whole laser thing... Florcent tubes?

Well, any light form needs energy - and electricity is a common way of providing this.

Light bulbs emit light because they are heated by electricity. Unfourtunately, about 95% of the light emitted is not visible to humans, and thus wasted (human eyes are tuned to best view light from a certain body at about 6000 degrees, and this is much hotter than the light bulb - thus the inefficiency).

There are, however, ways to convert electricity to light without heating anything. LEDs do this - all energy is converted to light of a single certain frequency - which we can see. This is true for lasers also, but they go even further by not only having light of a single frequency but also aligning the light waves that compose the light.

But both light bulbs and LEDs are made of big crystals of metal / silicon (as opposed to molecules). What is new here is the atomic structure of the of the light emitting material; it is nanotubes which technically are big molecules. This is a major discovery - although it is probably too early to tell exactly what it will be useful for in the future.

Tor

Re:First time?-Applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885671)

" But both light bulbs and LEDs are made of big crystals of metal / silicon (as opposed to molecules). What is new here is the atomic structure of the of the light emitting material; it is nanotubes which technically are big molecules. This is a major discovery - although it is probably too early to tell exactly what it will be useful for in the future. "

How about better LEDs? Or video displays? Or light amplifiers for fiber networks?

Re:First time? (1)

assaultriflesforfree (635986) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885325)

No, they're not talking about heating up tungsten. A good analogy for how light is generated in that manner is that the resistance of the tungsten is similar to friction, and as the electrons pass through it, they heat it up, eventually resulting in light. This phenomenon involves interactions between positive and negative charges in a nanotube resulting the release of light - a bit different from the analogy of releasing mechanical energy needed to force the electrons through medal as heat. I never much cared for solid-state physics, but I wonder how much heat this thing does create.

Re:First time? (4, Funny)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885364)

Its very complicated for a layman to understand, but I'll do my best:

The molecules in a light-bulb filament (called lightrodes) are ramp-shaped. When the electricity flows along the filament, some of the electrons hit this lightrodes and they fly out into the room. Hence, the light you see is simply dispersed electricity. It sounds crazy, I know, but, that's where static electricity comes from! How else would you explain electricity getting onto the carpet?

I would explain florescent lights, but you would need an advanced degree in science (30+ yrs of school) to even understand the basic concepts.

Optical Computers (-1, Troll)

Kiriwas (627289) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885148)

Could this lead to optical computers? I mean if we can create light from single molecules that must happen with a decent amount of efficiency. Could this lead to using light instead of electricity for computing? I'm not sure if it would be better, but it would certainly be interesting. Kiriwas

First Paragraph (2, Informative)

hendridm (302246) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885227)

Was this a troll?

"Researchers at IBM have used carbon molecules to emit light, a breakthrough that could replace silicon as the foundation of chips and lead to faster computers and telecommunication equipment." (emphasis added)

It was also reported a year ago [slashdot.org] that they had created transistors [nytimes.com] using nanotubes, although not with light.

Re:First Paragraph (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885558)

No, that's not a troll.

Stupid quote (0)

Misagon (1135) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885150)

"This is the first time light has ever been generated from a molecule by applying electricity"

Wow. These guys must have been living in the stone age.

Re:Stupid quote (1)

Aviancer (645528) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885191)

Uhrm, to point out the important part:

This is the first time light has ever been generated from
a molecule by applying electricity

Previously we've needed many molecules.

Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885155)

So If I drink this stuff and hold a battery will I shine?

Re:Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885178)

No, not in your case, because you are a dim bulb no matter what.

Re:Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885277)

I demand equal opportunity for dim bulbs!

Dim bulbs want to shine too!

Donate your Electricity!

Umm. Yeah.

FIRST TWIRLIP POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885164)

This post is for Twirlip [slashdot.org] ! Gone, but not forgotten!

Re:FIRST TWIRLIP POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885262)

Where'd he go?

This is cool, but... (5, Funny)

KCardoza (593977) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885172)

Wouldn't ignorant jackholes who read too many bad sci-fi novels like Bill Joy worry about these "Nanotubes" going haywire and turning the planet to gray goo? Or would Apple sue them into oblivion for using "Carbon" in a computer without their express permission?

Re:This is cool, but... (2, Informative)

Steffan (126616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885568)

I don't think Bill Joy's issue is with Nanotubes per se, but with self-replicating nanomachines that could, due to a 'programming' bug or something similar, not stop replicating even after their task is done, hence the 'gray-goo' you hear about. It's a legitimate concern, but IMO should not and does not justify the cessation for nanotechnology research.

Re:This is cool, but... (1)

malfunct (120790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885615)

Nanotubes and nanites are not really related. Nanotubes are just one of the forms that a pure carbon molecule can take.

Re:This is cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885761)

Hmm... better rethink that "ignorant" tag on Bill Joy. Think about what Monsanto is doing with GMO food crops.

Faster chips? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885175)

I like salt & vinegar myself although my wife is partial to "Miss Vickies" Onion chips
And yes, they do seem quite light...must be lots of air in 'em

As for the nanotubes angle, sorry...I never watched Mork & Mindy, so nano nano to you I guess

Thomas "Troll" Dz.

You obviously don't do much grillin' (5, Funny)

bearl (589272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885177)

>This is the first time light has ever been generated from a molecule by applying electricity.

Heck, if you put too much lighter fuel on the charcoal and apply your electric grill lighter while standing too close you'll see PLENTY of light from those charcoal molecules!

Re:You obviously don't do much grillin' (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885620)

Ah, but the challenge here is to spray your lighter fluid onto a single charcoal molecule, and then ignite it.

Then the double challenge is to make a good barbeque out the result.

Doesn't everything now? (3, Insightful)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885181)

...and lead to faster computers and telecommunication equipment.

Doesn't it seem like this catch-phrase is tacked onto every new discovery? Couldn't these folks just be making nifty flashlight bulb replacements? Does EVERYTHING need to give us faster computers?

--

Re:Doesn't everything now? (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885230)

I believe the basis of this lie with the funding going to computer improvements. Business knows computers sell and anything else is a bonus.

Re:Doesn't everything now? (1)

Ikeya (7401) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885258)

Yeah! A new IBM Lighting Division would be cool! :)

We could have "Light at the speed of e-Business at the speed of light!"

This is interesting? (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885300)

Just in case you are wondering, it is white LEDs which will give you better flashlights. Maybe you can find something intersting to say about that.

Re:Doesn't everything now? (1)

einer (459199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885331)

Just how much of your disposable income do you have earmarked for emergency lighting?

Lemme think (5, Funny)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885404)

Does EVERYTHING need to give us faster computers?

Yes.

Re:Doesn't everything now? (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885469)

Yes.

Re:Doesn't everything now? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885732)

Well, it will technically be faster than electrical signals because electrical signals generally only travel around 0.6 c. Whether or not the end-user will see the difference, on the other hand, is a question of design.

Which means AMD's electricity-based chips will still be faster than any optics-based hardware Intel produces for quite a while now. :)

Producing Light (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885194)

The biggest producers of light are George Bush and Tony Blair, all the poliarising filters in the world aren't enough to save your eyes if you have the misfortune of staring up thier asses.

On the opposing end of the scale, Hillary Rosen's soul is the blackest of black... might be the counterweight that is needed.

Old news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885196)

A pair [newscentral.da.ru] . of russian scientists have figured it out for a while so it's no big deal.

first time getting a molecule to emit light (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885209)

So, it's the first time a molecule was made to emit light with electricity?

I can make tungston emit light by screwing a glass bulb shaped thing into this oversized candle device sitting on my desk.

Help! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885210)

Ive been torrented! Those sleazy slashdotters have saturated my upstream! Help distribute the load before my coaxial cable melts! [gametab.com]

What can't they do? (5, Funny)

AlabamaMike (657318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885218)

Self assembly, high tensile strength, readily available (at least for Carbon), and now light emitting! What is is that carbon nanotubes can't do? It seems everyday there's a new application for these things. I'm ready for the guys @ Highlift to buckle down and just get the space elevator done. Maybe while their at it, they could use the nanotube cable as some type of large transmission line for the Interplanetary Internet!

-A.M.

Re:What can't they do? (1)

Bodhidharma (22913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885586)

It should already transmit billions of Joules from the Van Allen belt to the earth. The scpace elevator sounds like a giant lightning rod. We need to find a way to work with all that juice.

Re:What can't they do? --NEWSFLASH-- (2, Funny)

Ubiquitous Coward (648472) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885733)

Researchers at IBM have used carbon molecules to increase the average female bustline.
Melony Swayback, an IBM test subject states, "These new nanotube implants work great! Now they look perky without even wearing a bra!"

Director of IBM R&D states, "Wow! What CAN'T these things do??"

- My oranges are RIPE!

Re:What can't they do? (5, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885755)

"What is is that carbon nanotubes can't do?"

Be cheap.

good thing it's measured in hair widths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885226)

otherwise i would have been unable to tell the true size

Huh (-1, Redundant)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885239)

This is the first time light has ever been generated from a molecule by applying electricity.

Does this mean LEDs are not made of molecules? Nor Incandescent light bulbs? Facinating.

gullible friend (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885241)

My gullible friend was duped into ordering a subscrition from "mp3 grand central", which you'll find by searching google for mp3 and looking under the "sponsered links." So, to get revenge, CLICK HERE [mp3grandcentral.com] to download a large file (kazaa light) from their server. It IS a public http server...

first molecule ... I think not ... (0, Redundant)

krlynch (158571) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885245)

First molecule to emit light when electricity is applied? That would surprise the people working on organic LEDs, not to mention slightly older guys like Thom Edison, who managed to coax light out of graphite coated thread....

Mass Production (2, Insightful)

L7_ (645377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885253)


Pardon me for being skeptical (I am a theorist, not an experimentalist), but isn't there a revolutionary new 'Carbon Nano-tube Technology' every 2 months? I mean, how many of these technologies will be applicable with thier current specifications?

And not only that, but it seems that nano-tubes are not currently being mass produced in any reasonable way. If they are, why aren't more small graduate materials labratories basing research on them?

I'm not against plausible speculations to applied science, but it just seems that the carbon nano-tube technology is still in its beginning phases, and we won't see these 'small optical fibers' or any other applied devices anytime before 2020.

Re:Mass Production (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885314)

That's the major problem they've had...the things are pretty damn hard to manufacture with any quality.

Thankfully, some newish production methods are being put through, and a couple dedicated factories are being built. From what I read in new scientist, it should drop the price down to $5/kilogram instead of $500/milligram (or some similar outlandish figure)

Re:Mass Production (2, Interesting)

anonymous loser (58627) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885380)

I'm not against plausible speculations to applied science, but it just seems that the carbon nano-tube technology is still in its beginning phases, and we won't see these 'small optical fibers' or any other applied devices anytime before 2020.

The first semiconductor transistor (the point-contact transistor) was produced in 1947. The junction field-effect transistor was invented a few weeks later, and the first working prototype was produced in 1949. By 1958 integrated circuits were being made with them.

Re:Mass Production (of nanotubes) (5, Informative)

wass (72082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885575)

yes, nanotech is currently one of the 'sexy' topics, and so every two months (or more often, usually) someone gets to publish their new fabrication or measurement technique.

I'm a graduate physics student (experimentalist), and I'll be working with nanotubes. But we're just building up our lab now (my advisor just arrived here only a few months ago). We'll be doing measurements with carbon nanotubes, initially continuing what we did last summer (at her old postdoc lab) by measuring superconducting nanowires. If you're curious, these nanowires are created by sputtering a superconducting alloy (MoGe) on top of a nanotube substrate. They're interesting because the system dimensions are small enough that the wires are effectively one-dimensional, which means they can't support long-range order and thus cannot allow Cooper-pair supercurrents to flow unimpeded through the wire.

It's hard to create nanotubes, and harder to put them where you want them. One way to create them is to use chemical vapor deposition (CVD), where you basically try to create a controlled environment where some hydrocarbon (eg methane) is ignited (the environment is somewhat oxygen-deficient so CO2 isn't the only carbon species produced) The 'soot' that is subsequently deposited on your substrate should contain nanotubes if the right conditions are met.

To get the tubes in certain places, sometimes little 'seeds' of iron particles are used, in hopes the nanotubes will grow/branch from them. It's hard to create good SWNT (Single-Walled Nanotubes), but easier to form 'ropes' of many nanotubes intertwined together.

Another difficult factor to control is the 'chirality' of the tube. Basically, a carbon nanotube is a rolled graphite sheet, but when the sheet is rolled, it can have certain 'twist' to it. For example, if you rolled lined paper into a cylinder, you can have zero helicity, in which case your lines will form independent circles. Or you can shift the lines by an integer number, in which case the lines will form helices of varying pitch. This factor in nanotubes determines the electronic band structure, which mandates whether the tubes are metallic or semiconducting. It would be highly desirable to be able to produce consistently tubes of the same chirality.

I hope this makes sense, I was up all night doing E&M homework (ya gotta love Jackson), so my brain is kinda fried right now.

Stability (3, Interesting)

tijnbraun (226978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885259)

I'm a complete ignorant about these things. But how stable are these systems that work on nano levels? For instance if I would give my computer a hard kick, would it be affected in any way? The energy levels it works on are so low.

Re:Stability (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885644)

For instance if I would give my computer a hard kick, would it be affected in any way?

You mean our non nano-level computers shouldn't be affected if I give it a hard kick? Dang!!! Shouldn't have trusted that guy when I tried to RMA my Dell...

Nano Nano (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885261)

Light-Producing Nanotubes Could Mean Faster Chips

Yeah, then kill you because nanostuff gets through your skin and the light give you malinoma from the inside.

thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885279)

An atom that emits light...
couple of wires that carries electricity to that atom...
Sure we are going to eliinate electricity and use light for it has so many advantages?
Dinesh

Re:thinking... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885348)

Hey Dinesh, shouldn't you be studying real hard to steal some white guy's job for half the pay because you live with your parents?
Like instead of posting semi-literate gibberish to /.?

Re:thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885765)

Wire an atom? Just what do you propose those wires be made of?

OK, I'VE FUCKIN' HAD IT NOW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885288)

Fat, whiney people piss me off...

Not all fat people piss me off, just the whiney ones. What do I mean by that? Well, let me explain. In my view, fat people can be put into three groups; fat whiney people who don't do anything about it, fat people who are not whiney and don't do anything about it, and fat people (whiney or not) that are doing something about it.

The people who don't whine are no problem; they don't bother me at all. Their attitude is, "Hey, I am fat, but I don't care, and I don't care what you think either." For whatever reason, they don't have a desire to loose and weight and they don't complain about being fat. As long as they are not living off of tax dollars because they have somehow gotten their weight problem classified as a disability, I could care less.

People who are honestly doing something about their weight are not a problem either. If they don't whine about their weight, then that is respectable. If they whine about their weight, then I do not have as much respect for them, but at least it is not hard to deal with. I just ask them if they have had any success - which, if they have honestly been trying, they will have - and they something more positive to talk about. Problem solved, and the whining stops.

The people that really piss me off are the ones that say "I just can't seem to loose any weight." I know many people like this, a few that have spent hundreds of dollars on workout equipment that did nothing but gather dust. I know one in particular that claims to work out, but sits at her desk and munches on food nearly constantly. "It is fat free," she claims. Don't you get it moron, it does not matter how much fat is in your diet, if you consume more calories than you spend, your body makes new fat cells to store the extra calories. You would think that someone with a college degree in physics could grasp that concept.

It is not a damn metabolism or glandular problem either, you lazy pig! Have you ever seen pictures of people in starving third-world countries, or of Jews in the Nazi concentration camps? Ever remember seeing a fat person in any of those pictures? If, as you say, it is a medical problem, then why do people who eat next to nothing get very thin? I am sure that, considering the prevalence of these strange fat retaining medical problems, that at least one starving Jew or third-world citizen would have a similar problem, but I don't remember seeing any fat people in those pictures. The answer is simple; stop shoving food in your fat face, you idiot, and do more than take a leisurely walk with your dog! Real exercise means you have to sweat, and be short of breath. Eating well does not mean having a regular burger and small size fry; it means have a damn apple instead!

Over the many years since I have left my parents' home (and thus been in charge of what I eat and when), I have gone up and down the scale. Never once did I think to myself, "Hey, I am taking this step aerobics class, but I just can't seem to loose weight," while scarffing down a Big Mac with a super-sized order of fries. When my wife was pregnant, she ate a lot, and I ended up eating a lot as well. Eventually, I got tired of my clothes being so tight and decided to lose weight. I did it by cutting back what I eat and exercising a lot. I lost thirty pounds. It took a while, cause I love my food, but I did I - and I did it without whining about it!

Nanotube display? (4, Interesting)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885304)

If they managed to refine this enough, could we be seeing nanotube displays some time in the future? And how would the power drain compare to that of an LCD or OLED display?

Re:Nanotube display? (4, Interesting)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885748)

Exactly what I was thinking. Imagine the resolution you would get from a 21" nano-tube display. At 1.4 nm diameter, assuming you could align these in a perfect grid (and my math isn't totally screwed up), you would have a theoretical max resolution of 17.857 million dots/inch or 375,000,000 x 281,250,000 pixels in a 21" screen :) You'll need a mofo graphics card to drive it, of course :)

How to use for computers? (1)

MntlChaos (602380) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885315)

Okay, we got electricity->light. but now we need something else to get it back to electricity iff light present.

Re:How to use for computers? (2, Interesting)

Absurd Being (632190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885497)

Obviously, you use the light, run back through nanotubes, to turn into electricity. See also: LED's and Solar Panels (which are also essentially diodes) Every $%@ physical process is reversible.

Am I the only one... (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885316)

After looking at the Babel-dy-gook of translations of the PPC 970 article, everything I read on slashdot had the appearance of broken English. Sigh. This too shall pass.

Anyways, couldn't they get much better performance if they had a electrical signal that had a not so fast not so regular repeating pattern of pulses of light and then used a second out of phase signal to modify it to get the correct pattern. Both signals could run at a lower rate (leaving room for improvement and lowering costs of development, time to market) and then the final pattern would be nearly the same as the single signal trying to do all the work. The single signal would approach the point of insufficient return on investment faster than the two signals.

Heading in the right direction (2, Insightful)

Paddyish (612430) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885319)

Thursday's announcement won't translate into products for quite some time, Avouris said.

Yes. The article doesn't mention much about how light will be recieved (though I suspect it will just happen in the reverse - light will generate electricity), and it also fails to point out that with the immense complexity of today's chips, it wouldn't be just an easy jump to convert existing designs to accept light pathways over silicon. This would require a new industry apart from the semiconductor sector, with new designs following different physics and fabrication techniques. That may be a great thing, but 'years' is most certainly how far away it is right now.

Carbon? (1)

Poeir (637508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885365)

Since this is carbon, would it be possible to begin development on an organic computer that grows? Or is that still a ways off? I mean, I know they have windshield that "heal," and I think that works on a similar idea, but how far away are machines that are grown, rather than built?

Strange things. (0, Troll)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885390)

Of course carbon can emit light... If you can turn lead into gold, you can make anything do anything. (What's that, you say? You can't turn lead into gold? Well, why not? You can turn a tree into a diamond! Don't believe me? What's a tree made of? Carbon. What's a diamond made of? Carbon. So they're both made of the same thing but look different... If the tree is turned into ashes which are then compressed with a shitload of pressure and heat, you'll get a diamond. That's expensive to do and diamonds aren't really that valuable when you consider that two families control the release of diamonds from their vast reserves. But turning lead into gold is relatively cheap and generates a huge return on investment. I regularly turn lead into gold but I won't tell you how it's done. You have to follow that path on your own and stumble along the way like I have. Once you know how, it's very easy. I'll tell you that much.) So, basically, what you're telling me is that if I apply enough electricity to something made out of carbon, it will emit light. That might explain some strange things.

Re:Strange things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885541)

a) Almost everyone nowdays knows you can make diamonds from carbon, nutcase.
http://www.lifegem.com/

b) lead into gold requires elemental transmutation. could probably be done in some fashion with a radioactive source, but I'm sure it won't be cheap.

c) neither of these things has anything to do with the article. your closing sentence is basically tacked on.

cracksmoker.

Maybe as a corollary? (2, Interesting)

OrbNobz (2505) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885397)

Would it stand to reason that these devices would _generate_ electricity when bombarded by photons? Or would they be destroyed?
I'm sure several orders of magnitude more of these nanotubes would fit in the space of a solar cell.
Stephenson's aerostats just might work. :)
Perhaps someone with a background could answer.

- OrbNobz
I don't care about the answer, the nano-machine operating my fingers is asking.

Re:Maybe as a corollary? (2, Interesting)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885627)

Would it stand to reason that these devices would _generate_ electricity when bombarded by photons?

Nope, they explode [slashdot.org]

Re:Maybe as a corollary? (1)

JonnyElvis42 (609632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885741)

Would it stand to reason that these devices would _generate_ electricity when bombarded by photons? Or would they be destroyed?
I'm sure several orders of magnitude more of these nanotubes would fit in the space of a solar cell.
Stephenson's aerostats just might work. :)
Perhaps someone with a background could answer.


Well, I don't know about that, but you might be able to pull somebody who doesn't know jack about electricity, solar cells, or nanotubes, but is extremely opinionated, and they could say something like "That'd never work, it's clearly impossible you moron!" or "Of course it'd work, I was trying to suggest that at my last job, but they wouldn't support me, so I quit, and can't afford the research or a patent myself, so some huge corporation is just going to come along and rip off my idea!"

That's convenient! (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885426)

Now, not only can we build nanotube fiber cables to orbit, but we can light them up at night too!

Could another electrical engineer tell me if... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885461)

they're talking about making a MOSFET? I can't imagine them creating a light BJT...how would that work, anyway? Is beta then the ratio of the number of photons?

Where's NanoGator? (1)

armyofone (594988) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885472)

Hmmm.. I notice NanoGator is suspiciously missing from this discussion.

Oh my god! They've killed NanoGator with their evil research! Those bastards!

It's a joke - laugh.

obligatory post (1, Funny)

valmont (3573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885529)

imagine a blinding, sunshades-requiring, skin-melting, vampire-killing, burn-baby-burn, let-there-be-FUCKLOADS-of-light beowulf cluster of those.

Light (1, Insightful)

56ksucks (516942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885556)

I once saw some cheesy scientist on the tonight show or letterman or whatever get light from a pickle! He stuck two forks in each end and connected each fork to the AC and the pickle lit up! I'm not sure what this has to do with computers but it was pretty cool!

Posted on physicsweb (5, Informative)

parkanoid (573952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885560)

Three days ago [physicsweb.org]

One more step in the grand plan (2, Funny)

back@slash (176564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885564)

Optical computers have been discovered? Superconducting fibre will soon follow and we will be able to build the dreaded gatling laser!
After that it is only a matter of time before fusion power is harnessed and our units are twice as strong as the enemies!

/discoveries according to Alpha Centauri

Make humans glow! (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885593)

Couldn't we just apply electricity and make all the carbon's in our bodies glow?

Re:Make humans glow!-Enlightening television. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5885742)

"Couldn't we just apply electricity and make all the carbon's in our bodies glow?"

Oh lovely. The Gilligan effect.

Cheaper chips? (1)

jrl87 (669651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885625)

After they perfect whatever process they used to develop this; theoretically, chips should be cheaper since fairly pure sources of carbon are fairly abundant (graphite, coal, ...). Of course this is assuming that manufacturing cost of it isn't some astronomical figure.

Graphite pencil leads (1)

troff (529250) | more than 11 years ago | (#5885646)

In high-school physics/electronics class, I used to get the lead out of a Pacer (propelling pencil, not a car), put it between two alligator clips and run 12 volts DC through them. Just like a light bulb, it burns rather brightly. Just unlike a light bulb, I didn't have it encased in a glass-sealed vacuum. Not to be funny, but I got a LOT of molecules to emit light just by applying electricity to them.

Having RTF(under-detail-laden)A, a couple of questions spring to mind:

1) What's done to prevent the rapid over-oxidation, especially in something that astonishingly thin?

2) How long until LECNTs replaced those old-fashioned LEDs that are already providing so many of the household and street-traffic lights around today? :-)

(and just because I have positive karma and realised it don't make no difference anymore...)

3) Profit! :->
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