Computer component could use as little energy as physically possible

Researchers have built a logic gate – a basic computing building block – that uses vibrations for information processing instead of electrons, making it very energy efficient

Technology 7 July 2022

The nanomechanical gate

A mechanical computer component uses membranes thinner than a human hair

Dr. Erick Romero

A computer component that uses vibrations rather than electrons could approach the physical lower limit for energy use when processing and sending information.

The minimum amount of energy needed for a computer to perform a computational step is called the “Landauer limit”, named after the 1960s physicists Rolf Landauer. In his calculations, Landauer did not consider any specific computer design, but rather the basic energy cost required to manipulate information, like erasing or re-writing a bit.

Conventional computers, which are …

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