Thematic Group 2: Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnologies

by Colin Lambert

Experts participating in this thematic group recommend sustained investment in research to underpin the 'More of Moore', 'More than Moore' and 'Beyond Moore' technology drivers:

Future disruptive technologies and breakthroughs are likely to come from progress in a range of rapidly-developing areas The medium-term impact of many of these technologies may initially occur in niche 'More than Moore' areas, which would provide economic benefits and stimuli before impacting on the 'More of Moore' or 'Beyond Moore' challenges.

Proposed Research Themes
The following promising research themes were identified by experts of this Thematic Group:

  1. 'System-ability'of emerging ICT technologies and devices, involving multi-disciplinary teams of system architects and nano-technology researchers. This research would link system-level objectives such as high performance, reliability, correctness, ease of programming, to developments of advanced, potentially interfering or unreliable nanoscale-devices. An important element is to build suitable simulation methods and design tools that link nano-scale device models with higher-level heterogeneous system design environments
  2. Interfacing nano-scale biology with nano-electronics, including bio-nano transduction and growable electronics. This would provide the basic hardware structures to develop research objectives under B-T-H TG5 (Intelligent and Cognitive Systems) and could lead to circuits and connections which grow, shrink or reconfigure according to demands on functionality, thereby impinging on activities in TG2 involving evolvable hardware and emergent design.
  3. Future interconnects for heterogeneous system integration. Objectives include higher integration density, less I/Os, shorter wires, lower power dissipation and higher speed. Promising research directions include the use of nanotubes, nanowires, recently-synthesised molecules, nonlinear wave propagation and 3d architectures Another direction is to emulate natural systems such as nerve bundles, which show an example of unidirectional, self-restored signal propagation, chemically assisted guided growth and life-long repair capability. To avoid problems associated with high-density interconnects, non-local processing in non-charge-based devices and interconnect-lean architectures such as cellular automata could also be explored.
  4. Post-CMOS memory, storage and logic, aimed at identifying nano-devices that integrate gracefully with CMOS and architectures that exploit the advantages of both CMOS 'hosts' and these new nanotech blocks. The research would investigate a range of information carriers such as electrons, spins, photons, phonons, atoms, molecules, mechanical state and material phase.
  5. Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), including VLSI-like arrays of sensors, probes and sources and nano-object-based NEMS with potential applications to microwave signal processing, mechanically detecting magnetic resonance imaging, bio-sensors and bio-actuators, micro-nanofluidics, single molecule sensing and-analysing, data storage and operation at the quantum limit.
  6. Nanotechnologies for quantum-coherent systems, aimed at exploiting quantum effects in solid state devices. It includes investigating new types of solid-state qubits and scalable coherent systems to build large-scale coherent systems and practical quantum computers, and at addressing the ambitious materials science challenges associated with the engineering of solid-state qubits and quantum coherent systems in solid-state environments.

Participate in the online consultation of this report from 1 February to 31 March 2006 at

TG2 Coordinator:
Colin Lambert University of Lancaster, U.K.