>DETROIT – Nanotechnology will exceed all our expectations, Nicholas Donofrio, IBM senior vice president, says in his keynote speech at Convergence 2004 here.

It provides greater freedom to design new materials that make new devices possible.

Technology has moved from mechanical to electro-mechanical to vacuum tube, discrete transfer, integrated circuit and now into nanotechnology, Donofrio says.

The solutions of tomorrow must be smaller, better, faster, cheaper – and be developed more quickly.

Nanotechnologies under development in IBM labs include the smallest working computer attempting to harness the quirky behavior of atoms and create a molecular cascade, like a domino effect, for a logical function. But this solution is 12 nanometers by 14 namometers, which is 260,000 times smaller than today’s semiconductor chip.

Another piece of technology is known as “millipede storage.” Indentations on plastic polymers are used to write and read data, containing about a trillion bytes, or 25 times the density held by magnetic strips today.

And there’s “spintronics,” which leverages the spin of electrons for new forms of high-performance, low-power electronics.