Nowadays computer chips are made of silicon, a great conductive material. Its suitable properties have been extensively employed to design fast processors. Researchers at MTL (Microsystem Technology Laboratories) developed the smallest transistor ever built from a material other than silicon. They used indium gallium arsenide. Indium gallium arsenide is already utilized in fiber-optic communication and radar technologies, and it is known to have extremely good electrical properties. This chemical compound could allow computer chip makers to create smaller, faster and less energy consuming chips. The production of improved chips opens the doors, for designers and developers, to fabricate new hardware and software the will make our Technosphere grow bigger and bigger. For instance, it might be possible to have nano-computers running through your veins, checking for bacteria and viruses, monitoring general health. The possibilities could be endless and the impact on daily life could be huge. What are we going to design with these new capabilities and for what purpose?

image A cross-section transmission electron micrograph of the fabricated transistor

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