This week Fujitsu Laboratories announced that it has successfully simulated the electrical properties of a 3,000-atom nano device. Derived from a 20-hour supercomputing run, the simulation is three-fold increase over the previous record.
At the nanoscale level, even minor differences in the local atomic configuration can have a major impact on the electrical properties of a device, requiring the first-principles method of calculation to be used to accurately compute physical properties at the atomic level. However, when applying this method to electrical property forecasting, the massive computations involved limit these forecasts to the order of 1,000 atoms.
Simulating a nano device’s electrical properties accurately on a computer rather than through experimentation can make the development process quicker and less expensive. An effective way to do this is to derive the electrical properties from the first-principles method, which accurately calculates the behavior of each atom. But as the first-principles method requires a massive amount of calculations, applying it to electrical property forecasting is limited to models on the scale of 1,000 atoms (illustrated above). On this scale, only channel regions – the pathways for electricity – can be calculated. A simulation that would include interactions with thousands of adjacent electrodes and insulators – which are thought to greatly affect electrical properties – has been impossible.
Based on development of ever-more massive parallel computing technology that has kept pace with the performance increase of computers, Fujitsu is pursuing larger-scale and more efficient calculations. Within the next several years, Fujitsu aims to achieve nano device design via computers through total simulations of nano devices (on the scale of 10,000 atoms).
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