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Net Journal 1

As a key technology of the 21st century

---- I think the realization of a single-electron transistor will have a strong impact on current information technology. What are your thoughts on the possibility of putting it into practical use?

Fukui Takashi, Doctor of Engineering

Dr. Fukui: More than 100 million transistors are integrated in the CPUs of currently used PCs, and it would not be easy to replace them with single-electron transistors immediately. Although silicon single-electron transistors suitable for integration and those made of carbon nanotubes have also been developed in recent years, they cannot be put into practical use yet and it is necessary to wait for future advances in research and development.

The significance of these research efforts, however, lies in the actual creation of something that was previously only a prediction and a theoretical demonstration. The single-electron transistor plays the role of a test device in investigating what kind of phenomena will actually occur when the number of electrons related to transistor operation is reduced to the minimum. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology also positions the research and development of nano devices, materials and systems in the field of information processing/communication as a priority target, allocating a large research budget to this field. It is highly valued as a groundbreaking research project focused on the future.

---- Hokkaido University has already established an advanced research system in the field of nanotechnology. Research has been conducted at a variety of facilities, including the Research Center for Integrated Quantum Electronics, the Nanotechnology Research Center and the Catalysis Research Center. Against this background, what kind of development will there be at the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology concerning nanotechnology?

Dr. Fukui: A. Nanotechnology can be applied to a wide variety of fields, including information technology, biotechnology, medical care, the environment and energy. While the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology focuses on nanotechnology in the sense of becoming a leader of information technology hardware, there is also a possibility of creating completely new theories or technologies through organic cooperation among researchers in various fields by taking advantage of the strengths of the university. There is no doubt that nanotechnology will become a key technology of the 21st century, and we researchers believe that it is our task to achieve breakthroughs to dramatically improve the issues faced by modern society.

(2005/12/22)

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