Friday, March 14, 2008

US Patent 7342413 - Scanning tip electrical connector for nanowire crossbar circuit

One of the difficulties in reading or writing data to nanowire-based electronics is that it is difficult to address individual nanowires having diameters on the order of 10 nm with conventional electronics having wiring diameters in the micrometer range. Their are a variety of proposed solutions to this problem based on demultiplexing schemes but which would result in the necessity of including extra circuitry and design constraints. Scanning probe devices such as Atomic Force Microscopes or Scanning Tunneling Microscopes have the capability of transferring current between a nanoscale device and a microscale device, however scanning probes have mostly been limited to performing diagnostics and testing of circuits (as in the patent of the previous post) rather than as electrical circuit interconnects. This patent is based on an idea I had a few years ago on using arrays of scanning probe tips to address nanowire crossbar arrays so as to selectively configure the states of a programmable molecular or thin film material of the array. For more info. see my other blog NanoMorphware. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device comprising:

a nanowire crossbar array including a programmable material layer;

at least one of input or output circuitry; and

at least one array of input or output probe tips to provide an electrical connection between the nanowire crossbar array and the input or output circuitry, wherein the input or output tips are able to be scanned so as to provide movement of the tips relative to the nanowire crossbar array.