Nanocomputer is the logical name for a computer smaller than the microcomputer, which is smaller than the minicomputer. (The minicomputer is called "mini" because it was a lot smaller than the original (mainframe) computers.)
The term nanocomputer is increasingly used to refer to general computing devices of size comparable to a credit card. The first use of this name appears to be to describe the s1mp3 manufactured by The Flying Electron Inc. (7 November 2008). It is now used for a wider range of devices, such as
- Miracast dongles
- All the PC-on-a-stick (MK802 series...)
- Raspberry Pi
A perhaps more principled interpretation (analogous to the first microcomputers having fundamental parts no bigger than several micrometres) is that of a computer whose fundamental parts are no bigger than a few nanometers. There are several ways nanocomputers might be built, using mechanical, electronic, biochemical, or quantum technology. It was argued in 1998 that is unlikely that nanocomputers will be made out of semiconductor transistors (Microelectronic components that are at the core of all modern electronic devices), as they seem to perform significantly less well when shrunk to sizes under 100 nanometers.
This is rather contradicted by the smallest part of current state-of-the-art microprocessors measuring 22 nm as of April 2012. Moreover, Intel's 5 nanometer technology outlook predicts 5 nm feature size by 2022. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors gives an industrial consensus on feature scaling following Moore's Law.
Note that a Silicon-Silicon bond length is 235.2 pm, which means that a 5 nm-width transistor would be 21 silicon atoms wide.
- Starseed launcher - Interstellar nanoprobes proposal
- List of fictional computers in the 1980s - Low Energy Variable Input Nanocomputer (LEVIN) from William T Quick's novels Dreams of Gods and Men, and Singularities. (1989)
- Quantum computer
- Waldner, Jean-Baptiste (2007). Nanocomputers and Swarm Intelligence. London: ISTE. pp. p173–p176. ISBN 1847040020.
- Ellenbogen, J.. (1998). A Brief Overview of Nanoelectronic Devices. Retrieved August 3, 2006 from http://www.mitre.org/tech/nanotech/ourwork/nano_papers.html#nanoelectronics
- Kelion, Leo (2012). "Intel's Ivy Bridge chips launch using '3D transistors'". BBC. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- A spray-on computer is way to do IT
- Future Nanocomputer Technologies - Diagram of possible technologies (electronic, organic, mechanical, quantum).
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