Introduced as an “icon” in nanotechnology, Stan Williams wowed a capacity crowd at this morning’s nanobusiness event. The former UCLA professor heads up Hewlett Packard’s Quantum Science Research Labs - a facility that gazes 10 years ahead of its time to develop the next big thing in imaging, printing and computing.
Hewlett Packard (HP) invests $3 billion in research and development annually and has around 30,000 patents on its books, 2% of which are in nanotechnology.
Williams confessed that from 1997 to 2002 he was on a mission to “prick the bubbles and deflate the hype” surrounding nanotech, but over the next three years HP went silent. Results from the lab convinced management that nanotechnology could be profitable for the electronics giant.
The ponytailed Williams is pretty coy about potential applications, but he did reveal that HP wants to put logic into new areas such as ink jet cartridges.
“We’ve been working in nanoarchitecture and nanoelectronics,” he explained. “We don’t want to replace transistors, instead we want to complement them [with new technology] and make hybrid devices with more functionality.”
To do this affordably, the team has come up with its own nanoimprinting system that fits into a mask aligner. Last year, the group managed to build a memory prototype with a feature size of just 17 nm and is confident that it can go smaller.
Going back to the manufacturing tool, HP has actually licensed its nanoimprint machine to Nanolithosolution who plans to take the module to market.
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