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Nanoelectronics refer to the use of nanotechnology on electronic components, especially transistors. Although the term nanotechnology is generally defined as utilizing technology less than 100nm in size, nanoelectronics often refer to transistor devices that are so small that inter-atomic interactions and quantum mechanical properties need to be studied extensively. As a result, present transistors (such as CMOS90 from TSMC or Pentium 4 Processors from Intel) do not fall under this category, even though these devices are manufactured under 90nm or 65nm technology.
Nanoelectronics are sometimes considered as disruptive technology because present candidates are significantly different from traditional transistors. Some of these candidates include: hybrid molecular/semiconductor electronics, one dimensional nanotubes/nanowires, or advanced molecular electronics. The sub-voltage and deep-sub-voltage nanoelectronics are specific and important fields of R&D, and the appearance of new ICs operating near theoretical limit (fundamental, technological, design methodological, architectural, algorithmic) on energy consumption per 1 bit processing is inevitably.
Although all of these hold immense promises for the future, they are still under development and will most likely not be used for manufacturing any time soon.
Approaches to nanoelectronics
Besides being small and allowing more transistors to be packed into a single chip, the uniform and symmetrical structure of nanotubes allows a higher electron mobility (faster electron movement in the material), a higher dielectric constant (faster frequency), and a symmetrical electron/hole characteristic.
Also, nanoparticles can be used as quantum dots.
Single molecule devices are another possibility. These schemes would make heavy use of molecular self-assembly, designing the device components to construct a larger structure or even a complete system on their own. This can be very useful for reconfigurable computing, and may even completely replace present FPGA technology.
Molecular electronics  is a new technology which is still in its infancy, but also brings hope for truly atomic scale electronic systems in the future. One of the more promising applications of molecular electronics was proposed by the IBM researcher Ari Aviram and the theoretical chemist Mark Ratner in their 1974 and 1988 papers Molecules for Memory, Logic and Amplification, (see Unimolecular rectifier)   . This is one of many possible ways in which a molecular level diode / transistor might be synthesized by organic chemistry. A model system was proposed with a spiro carbon structure giving a molecular diode about half a nanometre across which could be connected by polythiophene molecular wires. Theoretical calculations showed the design to be sound in principle and there is still hope that such a system can be made to work.
Nanoionics studies the transport of ions rather than electrons in nanoscale systems.
Nanophotonics studies the behavior of light on the nanoscale, and has the goal of developing devices that take advantage of this behavior.
Nanoelectronics holds the promise of making computer processors more powerful than are possible with conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques. A number of approaches are currently being researched, including new forms of nanolithography, as well as the use of nanomaterials such as nanowires or small molecules in place of traditional CMOS components. Field effect transistors have been made using both semiconducting carbon nanotubes and with heterostructured semiconductor nanowires.
Research is ongoing to use nanowires and other nanostructured materials with the hope of to create cheaper and more efficient solar cells than are possible with conventional planar silicon solar cells. It is believed that the invention of more efficient solar energy would have a great effect on satisfying global energy needs.
There is also research into energy production for devices that would operate in vivo, called bio-nano generators.
There is great interest in constructing nanoelectronic devices that could detect the concentrations of biomolecules in real time for use as medical diagnostics, thus falling into the category of nanomedicine.  A parallel line of research seeks to create nanoelectronic devices which could interact with single cells for use in basic biological research.  These devcies are called nanosensors.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanoelectronics". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|