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HP unfurls more details of its nano plans

In journal, computing giant publishes ideas for creating chips with crossbars out of specially designed molecules.

HP Labs, the scientific arm of computing giant Hewlett-Packard, published nearly two dozen papers detailing its ideas for creating future chips out of specially designed molecules in a nanotechnology edition of leading journal Applied Physics A. The articles largely revolve around the on-off crossbar switch, which functions similarly to the millions of transistors found in today's chips.

Crossbars, theoretically, can outperform transistors but will cost less to produce, HP has said. Chips featuring crossbars could appear in the market circa 2012, the company has predicted. HP will try to license the technology. Still, mass production remains a major hurdle for crossbars and other transistor alternatives, which will likely mean that silicon has a long future, according to, among others, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.