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IBM Creates Ring Oscillator on a Single Nanotube

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the mini-milestones dept.

159

deeptrace writes "IBM has combined CMOS circuitry and a single carbon nanotube to implement a 5 stage ring oscillator. Even though the oscillator runs at just 52 MHz, they expect that it could reach the GHz range with improvements. The frequency of the current oscillator was higher than previous circuits using multiple nanotubes. IBM describes the achievement in the paper "Integrated Logic Circuit Assembled on a Single Carbon Nanotube" to be published this week in the journal Science."

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Imprevements (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985765)

You know what could use some imprevements? (I think you do.)

Re:Imprevements (1, Offtopic)

Draconix (653959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985775)

The Dvorak keyboard layout?

Re:Imprevements (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986189)

The Dvorak keyboard layout?
How does anybody use a Dvorak keyboard anyways? The ones I've seen all have their letters in the wrong places.

Re:Imprevements (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985799)

deeptrace writes "IBM has combined CMOS circuitry and a single carbon nanotube to implement a 5 stage ring oscillator.
What is CMOS circuitry? What is a 5 stage ring oscillator?
Even though the oscillator runs at just 52 MHz, they expect that it could reach the GHz range with imprevements [sic]
Still not sure what this oscillator is doing?.
The frequency of the current oscillator was higher than previous circuits using multiple nanotubes.
Hmm, fascinating.
IBM describes the achievement in the paper "Integrated Logic Circuit Assembled on a Single Carbon Nanotube" to be published this week in the journal Science."
Wait a second, I'm required to READ the article to know what it's about? Fuck that.

Re:Imprevements (2, Funny)

Hangin10 (704729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985809)

I had some imprevements for breakfast; they were a bit stale, so they tasted xor.

Re:Imprevements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986260)

That's not even a real word.
/me thinks the editors are doing these typos deliberately to test the 'beta tagging system'

This article could use some imprevements. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985768)

This article could use some imprevements.
Or maybe just the /. editors.

ooh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985778)

imprissive!

Re:ooh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985848)

imprissive!

I LOL'd.

A what? (5, Informative)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985782)

What the hell is a ring oscillator, you ask? Well, wikipedia says:
A ring oscillator is a device composed of an odd number of NOT gates whose output oscillates between two voltage levels, representing true and false. The NOT gates, or inverters, are attached in a chain; the output of the last inverter is fed back into the first. The simplest ring oscillator, then, is a single inverter whose output is fed back to itself. Because a single inverter computes the logical NOT of its input, it can be shown that the last output of a chain of an odd number of inverters is the logical NOT of the first input. This final output is asserted a finite amount of time after the first input is asserted; the feedback of this last output to the input causes oscillation.

A circular chain composed of an even number of inverters cannot be used as a ring oscillator; the last output in this case is the same as the input. However, this configuration of inverter feedback can be used as a storage element; it is the basic building block of static random access memory, or SRAM.

A real ring oscillator only requires power to operate; above a certain threshold voltage, oscillations begin spontaneously. To increase the frequency of oscillation, two methods may be used. Firstly, the applied voltage may be increased; this increases both the frequency of the oscillation and the power consumed, which is dissipated as heat. The heat dissipated limits the speed of a given oscillator. Secondly, a smaller ring oscillator may be fabricated; this results in a higher frequency of oscillation given a certain power consumption.

To understand the operation of a ring oscillator, one must first understand gate delay. In a physical device, no gate can switch instantaneously; in a device fabricated with MOSFETs, for example, the gate capacitance must be charged before current can flow between the source and the drain. Thus, the output of every inverter of a ring oscillator changes a finite amount of time after the input has changed. From here, it can be easily seen that adding more inverters to the chain increases the total gate delay, reducing the frequency of oscillation.

Re:A what? (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985971)

Can you shorten that down to about ten words?

Re:A what? (1, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986226)

"It's a type of computer circuit, important to modern PCs."

How's that?

Re:A what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986386)

Haha, man, thanks so much, you just totally clued-in a stoner as to what the hell was going on in this article ;-)

Re:A what? (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985990)

What the hell is a ring oscillator, you ask?

After reading that WP article, I think I'm still asking ;)

Re:A what? (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986025)

Haha, no kidding. I've never heard of it before today, and I took a few electronics classes. As far as I can tell It's basically a simple logic gate. Maybe we'll see nanotube flash memory in the near future.

Re:A what? (2, Informative)

suchire (638146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986118)

It's just a negative feedback circuit. If you inhibit yourself, then you stop producing, which stops inhibiting your own inhibition, etc. and this causes oscillation.

Re:A what? (1)

CAR912 (788234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986130)

Looks, from the WP article posted above, that a ring oscillator is an odd number of NOT logic gates strung end-to-end, so that when one outputs high/1/true, the next one outputs low/0/false (the opposite), which then feeds into the next gate... when you get back to the original gate, you give it high/1/true so that it then outputs low/0/false (switches from being true to false), and the gates switch their outputs around in a circle over and over again.

perhaps a diagram?:

NOT gate 1 ->  NOT gate 2 -> NOT gate 3 -> NOT gate 1 -> NOT gate 2...(lather, rinse, repeat)
output:  T              F             T             F             T
note how they continue to switch from true to false, as fast as possible?  This is how they generate a wave.

Re:A what? (2, Interesting)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986328)

What the hell is a ring oscillator, you ask?

After reading that WP article, I think I'm still asking ;)

After reading it, it sounds like a project from one of the Radio Shack electronics kits I had back in the day. One of the components in this kit [ebay.com] was a 7400, a quad 2-input NAND gate. By tying the two inputs of a NAND gate together, it's the equivalent of an inverter. By using one or three of the gates wired in a loop, you could make a one- or three-stage ring oscillator.

I don't recall if the documentation identified the circuit as a ring oscillator, but I think some projects used it (maybe with a capacitor somewhere in the loop to slow it down) as a clock source.

Re:A what? (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986151)

I belive that it might also be a sex toy from what I last heard

Man (2, Funny)

themusicgod1 (241799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986266)

If you're considerring using carbon nanotubes as a sex toy...you've got a problem. A very, very small problem, in fact.

Re:A what? (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986178)

Okay, so what does it do, that is, what can it be used for?

Odd... just did this in class today... (5, Informative)

jpardey (569633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986201)

Lets see if this helps. Some people were confused...

A ring oscillator is a device for making square waves. It uses a common component, a NOT gate. In digital logic, there are two levels, high and low (or 1 and 0, respectivly). High is usually, as far as I have seen, +5 volts, while low is 0 volts (ground).

A NOT gate simply inverts the input. If the value is 1, it outputs 0. If the value is 0, it outputs 1. If the value is somewhere between the two, it will choose one state or the other based on some threshold voltage.

Changing output is not instantaneous. How much time it takes, I don't know. However, it is very fast.

I was going to draw a schematic, but I gave up on appeasing the lameness filter. So, we will use the power of imagination! Imagine one of these NOT gates hooked up to itself. It will switch on and off at a terrific rate. Put a wire on the output, and you have a square wave! Want it slower? Take another two NOT gates, and put them in the loop, so that the first one goes to the second goes to the third. Slower? Another two. If the number of NOT gates was even, the inverted signal would be uninverted by the next NOT gate, which is not what we want.

For more control, one can use a capacitor in a certain arrangment (I'm not looking through my notes). It will take a while to charge and discharge, acting as a delay. Just don't read its voltage as the signal, or you will get a dropping bit, then a rising bit, rather than a nice clean square wave.

Quite useful devices. I hope this clarifies things.

Thanks (1)

Stripsurge (162174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986664)

That made things a lot clearer.

Who'd of thought your knowledge would pay off so soon?

Re:A what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986415)

You lost me after "A ring oscillator is a device..."

Re:A what? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986618)

Wow, thank god that thing wasn't something the Goatse man had attached to himself!

Can you please explain why this is significant? (2, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985783)

Some of us are not nano-physicists/EEs, so it's not clear as to what the big deal is.

Re:Can you please explain why this is significant? (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985833)

I've been reading /. since February 1999, and this headline has gone further over my head than any other headline in the intervening seven years.

Even though I understand what CMOS is and nanotubes are.

Ok, maybe that was hyperbole.

Re:Can you please explain why this is significant? (5, Informative)

eurowombat (652627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985914)

Ring oscillators are simple circuits with which you can easily compare different circuit technolgoies. You simply scale the circuit to whatever your new design rules are, say 90 nm -> 65 nm, soi, etc. and measure the new frequency of the oscillator. This gives you a good base point for measuring and comparing the performance of the new technology.

Re:Can you please explain why this is significant? (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986300)

Ring oscillators are simple circuits with which you can easily compare different circuit ...

Blah blah blah, this does not even get close to explaining to us "lay people" what you EE's are talking about. How about an answer like "Doom 5 will be REALLY REALLY COOL" :)

Re:Can you please explain why this is significant? (1)

Jackmn (895532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986755)

Blah blah blah, this does not even get close to explaining to us "lay people" what you EE's are talking about.
This is as simple as it gets. [slashdot.org]

Re:Can you please explain why this is significant? (2)

CaptKilljoy (687808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985924)

I've been reading /. since February 1999, and this headline has gone further over my head than any other headline in the intervening seven years.

It isn't exactly rocket science. Now that they have method for building a nanotube ring oscillator, they can test new chip fabrication processes for using nanotubes for building chips by putting this structure on the chip and using it to measure the electrical characteristics changed. According to the article, they had no way to make these types of measurements directly before.

The reason they're interested in trying to integrate nanotubes onto the chip is because it has better electrical characteristics than the copper currently used for interconnects (i.e. the wiring between transistors). This means less heat and better switching times.

This is significant because... (4, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986148)

From TFA:

IBM succeeded in creating a ring oscillator, a test circuit used to evaluate the performance of new materials and semiconductor manufacturing techniques, out of a combination of the CMOS circuitry used by the majority of today's chips and a single carbon nanotube.


OK here's the explanation in 1337:

Carbon nanotubes = t3h w00t
CMOS = reality
Ring oscillator = first tests to integrate t3h w00t into reality

It means that before this, nanotubes and nanotube transistors were only tested in the lab, using microscopic clamps, cables, probes, etc. But this is the first time that a carbon nanotube can be integrated into a working CMOS chip (a small step for chips, a giant leap for mankind). Once CMOS manufacturing can be adjusted for carbon nanotubes, we'll be able to manufacture nanotube memory, nanotube chipsets, and finally, nanotube CPU's!

This is what i've been waiting for since i ever heard about nanotube transistors (however, i think that using graphene sheets instead of nanotubes will be much more effective).

So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985790)

I was misled to believe that the entire circuit was literally on the surface of the nanotub but from the picture in the article it looks like the nanotube is touching a couple of pads.

Anyway, what is the significance of the low frequency? Is the ring oscillator circuit supposed to be limited in frequency only by process parasitics, so that researchers can determine the maximum frequency the process can sustain?

Microsoft Innovates Too! (5, Funny)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985796)

I'm really offended by all this IBM boosterism at Slashdot. Didn't you all hear Steve Ballmer say that IBM doesn't innovate? He's right, you know. And this carbon nanotube business is yet more evidence. IBM's work is hardly original. Carbon has been around forever. Steve Ballmer himself is made of carbon and other elements.

Now let's talk about REAL innovation. Microsoft just announced a new facial feature pack for Office's "Clippy." Now you can customize Clippy according to your facial preferences. Options include complexion, hair style, nose shape and size, and ear/nose jewelry.

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985925)

Best. Troll. Ever.

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1, Offtopic)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985961)

I'm sick of this pro-Micro$hit crap. Every Slashdotter knows that IBM Lotus Notes is the best mail client ever made, and therefore IBM dominates all software. You got a problem with IBM? Try to argue with the awesome functionality of Lotus Notes, and enjoy the smackdown, bitches.

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986051)

IBM Lotus Notes is the best mail client ever made,

Dude, you really need to get out more.

-jcr

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986126)

I'd still rather use Lotus Notes before I ever used Outlook again. Although its the worst recource hoge ever and only works on Mozilla and IE.

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986214)

Dude I just wanted to tell you that your post (and the well-mod'd ones before it) have just renewed my interest in /. Understandably, it's been waning for quite some time. Thanks man.

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986867)

Shut up and eat your grits, grandpa!

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (1)

daveytay (798497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986418)

Two Words: Novell GroupWise It does not have Notes' app building, but in all other respects is superior. IMHO.

Egg-raid on Nijola... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986430)

Egg-raid on Nijola!
Egg-raid on Nijola!
Fucked right up!
Fucked right up!
Come on bitch, try to stand up,
put down the remote,
are you "down with The Goats"?
Pull down your pants,
I wanna see you dance!

Re:Microsoft Innovates Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986438)

Lies. Here at Slashdot we all know it was Apple who invented carbon nanotubes, not IBM or Microsoft... What's more, Apples' "Carbon Nano's" (tm) come in various "fruity flavours" where as IBM's shameless ripoff only comes in one ugly, boring colour- beige.

Apple's is also better because it only actually has one carbon atom as any more would needlessly confuse users who want simplicity and elegance over the bloat of stringing the atoms needlessly together... :cP

Small, and fragile (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985797)

The oscillator works better using a single nanotube fiber than when using multiple nanotubes, according to the article. Since nanotubes carry current along the outer surface of the tube, could it be that multiple nanotubes cause the electrical quanta along the surface of each tube to interfere and degrade the signal? The article does not explain why they saw reduced performance with multiple tubes than with a single tube.

It is important to keep in mind that 52MHz is the maximum performance achievable in this setup with this material. Silicon's performance is much higher. However through changes to the nanotube material, the performance of the nanotube may be impreved. How they will achieve higher performance over a single nanotube will be interesting because it can't be reduced any further, and multiple tubes results in lower performance. Perhaps some sort of lattice structure will be able to allow greater imprevements.

More imprevements? (-1, Troll)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985836)

You sure about the lattice structure? I think you just wanted an excuse to say "imprevements" more. It is a fun word. Imprevements.

Re:Small, and fragile (4, Informative)

Quantum Fizz (860218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985928)

Since nanotubes carry current along the outer surface of the tube, could it be that multiple nanotubes cause the electrical quanta along the surface of each tube to interfere and degrade the signal?

A carbon nanotube (CNT) is a rolled graphene plane (ie, carbon atoms in a hexagonal structure). So of course all current will be on the 'outside' of the tube, as the tube itself really only consists of the outside.

IBM was probaby comparing single-wall nanotubes to multi-wall nanotubes. Multiwall nanotubes are composites of a bunch of concentric single-wall nanotubes. Their better results in the single-wall variety are probably due to less scattering between the graphene planes. A single CNT has a well-defined crystal structure, and is actually quite interesting. The graphene plane itself is sometimes referred to as a 'zero-bandgap insulator', where the density of states linearly goes to zero at the fermi energy (unlike an insulator or semiconductor which has a energy gap at the fermi energy, and hence cannot conduct decently like a metal).

However through changes to the nanotube material, the performance of the nanotube may be impreved.

They probably can get to higher frequencies. I mean, even the vibrational phonon modes of a single nanotube can be in the GHz range or higher (ie, these are the various modes of vibration that the nanotube would exhibit if you struck it, kind of like a wind chime). I don't know specifics, but I don't see why the nanotube couldn't support electronic channels with bandwidths into the GHz or even higher as well.

Although nanotubes do have interesting characteristics different from typical metals and semiconductors. Ie, the electron-phonon interaction goes as 1/T, instead of 1/T^5 (where T is temperature). So at low temperatures there might be useful ways to couple electronic channels to vibrational modes not possible in conventional materials. Or vice versa, the phonon modes might more easily kill off electronic signals. There's alot of interesting work being done with nanotubes, and I'm sure some clever physicists and engineers will exploit these characteristics well in the near future.

Re:Small, and fragile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986144)

I wonder if the placement of the nanotube has anything to do with it. Or what the speed of the oscillator would be without it. From the picture in the article, the nanotube appears to be hanging off one of the power busses and it doesn't show what's on the other end.

TFA says that the placement of the nanotube was somewhat random.. It could be that the nanotube is shorting out the power, causing the oscillator to operate slower than normal

I would be much more interested to see nanotubes being used in actual transistor applications

What we have here is capitalism at its best. (0, Offtopic)

O'Laochdha (962474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985812)

IBM is motivated by pure profit, and they did this for just that reason. And for the reason of pure profit, IBM has advanced the course of science. That's the idea of capitalism; people work harder when their purpose is more tangible than the good of mankind's collective knowledge.

Of course, there is the danger of this becoming "capitalism at its worst," i.e., patented...

Re:What we have here is capitalism at its best. (2, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985949)

That's the idea of capitalism; people work harder when their purpose is more tangible than the good of mankind's collective knowledge.

Which is why communism fails. If everyone's the same regardless, there's no incentive to innovate. But that's aside the point.

Patents aren't evil, in fact there's nothing wrong with them. It's copyrights that are abused. A patent is to protect your work. A copyright is to extort as much money as possible from something that serves absolutely no tangible purpose. But rest assured, it will be patented. My dad co-holds a patent that's used in the process of wafer processing, and it's in fact an extremely simple concept (of course, considering the fact that by age twelve I came up with a solution that increased the accuracy of their heating uniformity data, which was another extremely simple concept, I'd really have to wonder how smart most of the engineers are). Other manufacturers, to my understanding, can pay to license the idea and use the technology- it's not being reserved exclusively for the patent-holder.

Re:What we have here is capitalism at its best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986169)

"Other manufacturers, to my understanding, can pay to license the idea and use the technology"

So just like the e-e-evil copyright, you too are extorting as much money as possible in order to prevent people from using it.

Well how generous of you and dad. People can pay (and pay and pay and pay) for this "idea" that some kid thought up and had daddy's lawyers lock away forever so no one else can benefit. That's great. Thanks for nothing. Society will really benefit from that.

Herein lies the bald faced LIE of so-called Intellectual Property, and Capitalism in general, both hinder progress, both exist solely for Greed and to extort money from people who might otherwise use ideas to benefit others.

Re:What we have here is capitalism at its best. (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986281)

Not quite. Firstly, I have no involvement with the patent in question. My involvement was in something completely different, and was only cited to point out the abilities (or lack thereof) of the engineers. Secondly, my dad only created the concept and is a co-holder, his company handles all of the licencing. So if you're going to take what I said so severely out of context, at least quote me correctly. Patents traiditonally aren't used for extorsion, though, it's just to be sure that the creators are compensated. It's not locked up, it is licensed. And unlike copyrights, there's actually a tangible benefit to patended things. Having an edge-ring wafer retention mechanism being licensed to competitors isn't quite the same as a school having to change "gay" to "happy" in Deck the Halls so they don't have to pay thousands in licensing fees so they can make absolutely no money off of the song themselves.

At least get your story straight. I support free (as in both) as much as you do, but it just doesn't work in society for the most part. That doesn't mean I think society is right, in fact it's quite dissapointing to me, but you're not going to see any more progress from any other type of economic system than you will from capitalism. If you can't sell your progress to someone, you have no source of income. I dunno about you, but most people can't live off of nothing.

"daddy's lawyers" aren't locking up Happy Birthday, unlike what you get with copyrights. But for the record, the design has had a good deal of impact on the increased production and success of microprocessors, so I think society has benefitted quite a bit. If some other company wanted to design the thing themselves, they're quite free to do so - licensing is basically just paying for the blueprints. Yes, it gets hairy with IP, but that's not what the situation is here.

Lastly, copyrights are free, patents aren't. It costs thousands to have your patent registered. This post is (C) 2006 Firehed, and is subject to whatever terms I dictate, and if you violate them, you could be held liable in a court of law. If I wanted to, I could say that merely quoting me, in part or in full, is unauthorized reproduction and thus copyright infringement, and I could file a lawsuit of, IIRC, $30,000 per instance. And all it takes on my part is having created the post and noting the terms. I'm not an ass, so I won't. You're quite free to do anything but misquote me again.

Re:What we have here is capitalism at its best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986757)

"Patents aren't evil, in fact there's nothing wrong with them. It's copyrights that are abused. A patent is to protect your work. A copyright is to extort as much money as possible from something that serves absolutely no tangible purpose."

Translation: "You can't download that neat new gadget no matter how hard you suck on the P2P teat."

Guess they should raze all those stupid art museums, as they serve no tangible purpose.

Re:What we have here is capitalism at its best. (1)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986224)

I'm sure it will be patented. If you have an interesting patent to trade with IBM, you will get a licence for free. Likewise if you intend to use the invention for 'medical' or 'educational' ends. IBM's budget for prosecuting patent infringement cases is rather small. Even SCO got let off.

Waiting on Imprevements (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985815)

Until they develop an imprevement we shouldn't expect the GHz range. A quick google [google.ca] doesn't provide any further information other then suggesting it is a spelling mistake.

Re:Waiting on Imprevements (1)

Quantum Fizz (860218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985934)

The phonon modes (ie, vibrational modes) of the nanotube are in the GHz range, and might be exploited to further increase the frequecy.

Nanotubes.. (2, Interesting)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985817)

A nanotube turns on for both negative and positive voltage, and turns off somewhere in the middle

What exactly this means?

Zero (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985864)

In between positive and negative there is zero.

Congratulations - you just qualified as a Slashdot editor !

Re:Nanotubes.. (4, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985874)

Most semiconductors only turn on at a certain voltage level. For example, most silicon transistors turn on at about positive 0.7 volts. Any less than that and the trasistor won't conduct, even if you go below 0 volts to a negative voltage.

What the person was saying about nanotubes is they will "turn on" or begin to conduct again after the voltage drops below 0 to a certain negative level. Kind of like a device that takes the absolute value of the voltage, and if it's above a certain value it conducts or switches "on".

Re:Nanotubes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986087)

That's true, until you hit the breakdown voltage in the negative, in which case you overcome the natural resistance of the transistor.

Re:Nanotubes.. (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986884)

That's true, until you hit the breakdown voltage in the negative, in which case you overcome the natural resistance of the transistor.

I tried doing that, but it let the magic smoke out.

Note to mods: (1)

raoul666 (870362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986520)

Maybe I missed something, but this doesn't really look like flamebait, and I think that's a fairly harsh mod for what appears to be a simple (if badly worded) question.

Cool! (2, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985828)

Right in the middle of the 6-meter Amateur Radio band! Sounds like a nice local oscillator for an ultra-tiny nano "rig". Now, to figure out how to directly modulate it for direct FM or FSK.

Re:Cool! (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985887)

Did you just say nano-radio implants?

or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985985)

or use it as world's tiniest CW emitter.

Re:Cool! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986065)

Well, it's a square wave, so you'll have to filter the heck out of it.

LOL Fortune at the bottom o' the dot is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985831)

..is worthy of any chinese takeout fortune cookie i've ever seen! presenting:

I B M U B M We all B M For I B M!!!! -- H.A.R.L.I.E.

In other news... (4, Funny)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985837)

Microsoft announced today that they have achieved a full annoyance oscillator and generator on a single virtual piece of bent metal.
The findings titled "How to make Clippy more annoying" will be published next week in the Mr. Ballmer's Journal of IBM Bashing

Explanation? (1)

Egoweblog (963206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985850)

Could someone please explain what are the practical uses for the ring oscillator?

Re:Explanation? (2, Informative)

jackstack (618328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985922)

FYI - a ring oscillator is just a proof of concept and there is no practical application, per se. It shows that their carbon nanotube transistor technology is well understood enough so that they can make simple logic devices (an oscillator is a bunch of inverters (NOT gate) strung together. Not long ago, slashdot had an article about a transparent ring oscillator from Oregon State Univ. Again, this was done as a stepping stone from discovering an entirely new semiconductor (this is NOT silicon, people) to making a useful device.

Re:Explanation? (1)

Egoweblog (963206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986275)

Thanx, that's what I thought. I could not see any real use for a device composed only of NOT's.

Re:Explanation? (1)

jackstack (618328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986350)

Yes, but you can combine the inverters which make NOT gates to make AND gates as well as well as OR gates and ... you get the picture.. t

Re:Explanation? (5, Informative)

jedZ (571869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985976)

A 5-stage ring oscillator is the hardware equivalent of a program that displays 'Hello World!'

Re:Explanation? (1)

Spurion (412996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986621)

That is a very neat explanation. Earlier posts described the ring oscillator as a "proof of concept" or similar, but you have successully taken advantage of a better-known concept to be both more concise and more lucid.

Re:Explanation? (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986557)

The clock on your cpu.

A rebus, with words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985852)

"Integrated Logic Circuit Assembled on a Single Carbon Nanotube"

Does anyone else notice that you could create the acronym "ILicASCaN" with that? I lick ass can? Whoa!

Maybe... (0)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985854)

See, those core duo processors are cool, but when they're able to fit 1024 cores onto a chip, and then you have 8-chip machines, and each core is a 24 GHZ nanotech quantum computer, we'll start to see some real performance. Either that, or Microsoft will make Windows even more bloated.

Holy Shit!!! (4, Funny)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985901)

a ring Oscillator!

On a Single Nanotube!

crap all mighty!!!

I'm here to speak out... (3, Funny)

Miss Emily Litella (704696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986552)

against ring osculation. It's disgusting and vulgar. What's wrong with just holding hands, or kissing on the lips? Miss O'Tube should be ashamed of herself. With a reputation like that, she's going to stay single. Back to you, Cheddar.

MOD PARENT FUNNY!! (0)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986891)

If I hadn't posted already I'd mod you up.

They're just showing off (4, Funny)

surfcow (169572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985907)

They're just showing off.

It's nothing but a token ring.

=brian

Someones gettin laid tonight... (3, Funny)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985915)

...at the IBM labs Oh yeah! Nanotech really turns the hot chicks on

Re:Someones gettin laid tonight... (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985960)

"Ring Oscillator" on a Single "Nanotube"?

Sounds like innuendo to me...

Re:Someones gettin laid tonight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986013)

Nanotechnology is the next big thing.

Don't hit me.

Re:Someones gettin laid tonight... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986047)

Just wait, soon we'll all be taking Nano-Leaps in things before the paradigm shift.

Re:Someones gettin laid tonight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986053)

Nanotube

Size doesn't matter.

Hey Baby! (1)

Warg! The Orcs!! (957405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986494)

Come on over here, slip that cute, l'il ring on my nanotube and lets oscillate Baby!

Re:Someones gettin laid tonight... (1)

glas_gow (961896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986036)

A nanotube (also known as a buckytube) is a member of the fullerene structural family, which also includes buckyballs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_nanotube [wikipedia.org]

Amateur License? (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985938)

...the oscillator runs at just 52 MHz...

So I'm guessing that they have a Amateur Radio License. I wonder if they can get the nanotube to do single sideband on 6 meters.

Here's why a ring oscillator (3, Interesting)

sidney (95068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985959)

A number of posts have asked about the significance of a 5 stage ring oscillator.

That's the same circuit mentioned in the recent transparent IC story [slashdot.org] where TFA [deviceforge.com] said

OSU says the near-invisible integrated circuit (IC) implements a five-stage ring oscillator, a function often used for testing and demonstrating new technologies. This is analogous to when software developers write programs that simply say "hello world," as an early step in testing and debugging new computer languages.

Nice feat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985983)

Now we can build a 486DX2 with oscillator in just a square millimeter. Just imagine having a complete computer with semi-transparent screen built into your glasses.

And the art department's putting together comps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986077)

for a bulk package [bbc.co.uk] that will hold a few million of 'em!

Attention: Question (2, Insightful)

irimi_00 (962766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986112)

Does anyone else get the impression that most people have no idea the potential for nanotech? Or maybe those that do are just schizo and nerdy.

Re:Attention: Question (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986217)

Does anyone else get the impression that most people have no idea the potential for nanotech? Or maybe those that do are just schizo and nerdy.

Most people, including the nerdy and schizo, have no real idea what nanotech is beyond maybe the latest scientific buzzword.

In the meantime; Please don't pat yourself on the back for being a geek. That doesn't play well around here, Holmes.

Nanotube circuits... (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986179)

"Hey Ethel, it looks like tube circuits are making a comeback!"

IBM IS FAMOUS FOR THIS CRAP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986351)

Don't you know IBM is famous for posting all this work they do publicly just so that its public domain and no one else can patent it? They're famous for doing this type of crap. Everyone know they file for a crapload of patents every year and whatever they think they can't they "release" publicly so it can't be patented.

Re:IBM IS FAMOUS FOR THIS CRAP (0)

waferhead (557795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986496)

And this is a bad thing HOW?

Applications. (3, Insightful)

rrauwl (950498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986410)

Some people seem to be wondering if this is just showing off, or are there short to medium term applications for this? I think that one of the first, fairly simple applications for this is in the field of gate arrays. FPGA's, or field-programmable gate arrays, are cool devices that emulate strings of logic gates. They can be used in circuit design tasks, emulating loads on networks, and any number of geeky things. FPGA's are often considered the ugly step sister to application-specific integrated circuits, or ASIC's. Why? Because they suck more power and they're slower. People still use FPGA's a lot of the time because they're more flexible, you can change them on the fly. Now imagine an FPGA that's ultra-miniaturized, drawing almost no power, producing very little heat, and operating at amazing speeds. They need to perfect NAND or NOR gates, but once they have one of those, they can replicate them a billion times, and either of those gate types will be able to emulate every other logic gate, when placed in the right order. That's one interesting application, on the pure logic level. So it might be an exciting time, depending on how quickly they can move this out of the lab. I love this stuff.

Re:Applications. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14986862)

They need to perfect NAND or NOR gates, but once they have one of those, they can replicate them a billion times, and either of those gate types will be able to emulate every other logic gate, when placed in the right order.

I believe one of the big problems is the replication that you're speaking of. From my understanding they don't really have a great idea of how to mass produce predictably shaped nanotubes yet. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8888 [newscientist.com] has a little bit of info on this too.

drain? (2, Interesting)

Hawkxor (693408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14986711)

From the article: "Circuit designers understand that n-type transistors can be turned on with positive voltage applied to the drain; p-types are exactly the opposite."

Surely they mean 'applied to the gate' (the input voltage is gate to source, the output voltage is drain to source)

            D
            |
          _|
  G ||_
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            S
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