"A Low-Power, High-Speed, Radiation-Hard Logic Family Based on Molecular Micro-switches"

Darren K. Brock
Nantero, Inc.


A complementary logic family, based on the use of non-volatile molecular micro switches (MMS), is described. The overall goal for this development work is to dramatically increase computational horsepower available "on orbit"; however, the individual performance benefits of this emerging technology are multi-fold. The non-volatile storage of data at the register level increases flexibility in power management. The near radiation-immunity of the device architecture leads to extended lifetime in orbit. Moreover, by coding information operations using the physical displacement of < 100k atoms per bit transaction, speeds far in excess of traditional semiconductor circuits can be imagined.  

The enabling component of this novel approach to space-borne logic is the use of production photolithography to create an all-thin-film fabrication process that exploits molecular monolayers of single-walled carbon nanotubes. The unique characteristics of these carbon macromolecules allow exploitation of van der Walls forces at a macroscopic scale, using only CMOS-type voltage levels, thus enabling entirely new computational architectures. 

Existing MMS device operation is described, following the insertion of the technology into a production CMOS fabrication facility. Architectures for using the devices within a non-volatile memory are introduced and compared to efforts aimed at logic production. Using off-the-shelf CMOS design software, direct 1:1 duals of digital CMOS gates have been modeled and simulated, including dual-rail ring oscillators and a Differential Cascode Voltage Switch (DCVS) with an eye toward experimental evaluation.


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