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IBM Working To Build Faster PCs

IBM Corp. researchers are working to build faster PCs and more reliable electronics, a company research scientist said.

The company reported Friday it has built the first complete electronic integrated circuit around one "carbon nanotube" molecule, a new material that IBM hopes will enhance performance on products from computers to diagnostic equipment.

Nanotechnology is being explored by many companies as a means to keep innovation moving forward. The technology aims to improve product reliability in devices from personal computers to instrumentation for space exploration.

"Technology improves at a certain rate and some people say at today's pace, technology we will see limitations within the next 10 years," said Kimberly Allen, director of display technology and strategy at iSuppli Corp. "If we can find an alternative, improvements would continue rather than slowdown."

Today's PC chips operate at speeds of a couple of gigahertz. "The circuit we fabricated on one nanotube is 50 megahertz, which is substantially less," said Joerg Appenzeller, research member at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. "Ultimately, we believe it will be much faster than silicon. In the last five years we've manage to ramp up from a couple of hundred hertz to this 50 megahertz."

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