Transforming Nanotechnologies into Applications
Max Shulaker, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The world relies on data, and there are increasing volumes of data. IoT has a massive potential for impact on our lives. But we’re currently “swimming in sensors, drowning in data”.
- Power wall (https://www.systems.ethz.ch/sites/default/files/file/aos2012/slides/08-Multicore_print.pdf)
- Memory wall
- Communication wall
- Interconnect wall, complexity wall, resilience wall
Max listed several solutions that he didn’t feel would work – new sensors, better transistors, new architectures, improved algorithms. He believes Nanosystems have the answer…
Transform new nanotech involving new sensors, new fabrication, new devices to create revolutionary architectures enabling new applications.
Systems today are limited to 2-Dimensional circuits with a sensor, memory and a circuitboard. A futuristic nanosystem involves multiple levels of computing logic in a 3D stack with massive parallel sensing and storage. And this is here today in Max’s lab…
Replacing silicon in chips with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the gates. They use CNTs because they are excellent chemical sensors and would be very energy efficient (far more so than silicon transistors) if you could build a full system out of them. Furthermore the circuits would be designed the same way.
Main problems currently with CNTs are mis-positioned CNTs and metallic CNTs.
Max’s team have just created the first monolithic 3D system with > 2million CNFETs and 1 Mbit RAM with a wafer-scale design +fabrication.
The chip can tell the difference between different compounds in gases by the pattern of sensor activation, using neural networks to stratify these.
- Energy-efficient logic + memory
- High bandwith communication
- Transform massive data into useful insights
MIT-ADI-MGH Collaboration for massively parallel sensing immersed in computation for breath analysis.
- Known correlation between VOCs and disease:
- Cancer, Irritable Bowel Disease, Parkinsons – 8 sensors
- Gases in breath are highly heterogeneous between people.
Max worked in a retina lab during his PhD and answered that the sky is the limit when it comes to neuro-inspired / bio-inspired tech.