from the steady-progress dept.
According to a Hewlett-Packard Company press release (23 January 2002), the collaborative research team led by James Heath, a UCLA chemistry professor and staff researcher at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), and Stanley Williams and Philip Kuekes at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories has announced another advance in their research program to develop computing systems based on molecular electronic components, which has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent Office. HP was previously awarded patents for related molectronics work in July 2001 and October 2000.
Additional coverage of the research and the new patent can be found in this Associated Press article ("Advance Made in Molecular Computing", 23 January 2002) posted on the New York Times website (free access with registration); and this article from Reuters News Service ("HP Says Atom-Sized Computer Chips a Lot Closer", 23 January 2002). Many other newsfeeds are reporting the story (and thank you to those who submitted posts), but most are mere rewrites of the HP press release, or the AP or Reuters wire story.
Heath, Williams and Kuekes have been making steady progress toward their goal of developing molecular computing systems (see posts on Nanodot from 26 October, 17 July, 18 July, and 13 April 2001 and 18 August 2000, and articles in Foresight Update issues #44 and #42). The team was jointly awarded the 2000 Foresight Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for Experimental Work. Some interesting background on this research team can be found in a profile of Jim Heath ("Speed Demon", by Gary Taubes) that appeared in UCLA Magazine in the Spring 2000 issue (and therefore is about two years out of date); in this interview with Stan Williams (also about two years old) and this feature article ("Molecules that compute") from 1999, both on the HP Labs website.