|MadSci Network: Computer Science|
First off, I try not to immediately come to a conclusion about whether new scientific / engineering claims are true. Sometimes unbelievable things turn out to not only be true, but to be revolutionary. Having said that, one also needs to be careful about scientific claims on the web - it is relatively easy to give incorrect information a look of veracity by using good html and website development approaches to put it on an official, professional looking site. Without doing a lot more research, and allowing the company, ACC, to prove their claims, I really cannot and should not draw a complete conclusion about whether what you have read at their site is true. What I can do is exerpt from their page, and let you know what they say that seems very possible, and what they say that I would question, and why. I took much of what follows from this site that you mentioned in your question: http://byamerican.com/abouttcap.htm ======================================= "American Computer Company readying a new kind of semiconducting device which rivals the Transistor --the Transcapacitor: a 12-Teraherz Clock Speed Microprocessor & Storage "Building Block" Component which could Revolutionize Consumer Electronics and all forms of Computing and communications, by making low cost CPUs and Disk Drives run as much as 10,000 times faster, consume minute quantities of power and occupy 50 times less space." *************************** - The thought of a "Transcapacitor" is rather intriguing....while the transistor gets its name from a resistor that changes (trans-resistor), a transcapacitor might get its name from changing the value of a capacitor...this might make sense, particularly at very high speeds, where capacitance is generally more important than resistance... The claims of the advantage over current systems is more than impressive. As a general rule of thumb, an advantage of 4:1 over current systems is considered sufficient for market domination - almost any company would give substantial financial support to develop or buy a technology that has a significant possibility of providing more than a 4:1 improvement over current systems. These claims involve: - a 12-Terhertz clock speed - more than a 12,000:1 improvement over current systems - a 10,000:1 improvement in CPU and Disk Drive speed. Similarly, there is a later claim: ================================ "The TCAP has applicability as a DATA/VIDEO Transmission Transducer (it achieves linear speeds of 5 Trillion bits per second, enough to engage in a very large group Video Teleconference, using dozens of 3 dimensional camera and imaging systems, creating, for the first time, a potentiality for Virtual Business on a Global Scale, where people can BE WITH each other without leaving their office). " ********************* This claim involves an improvement of 2000:1 over the fastest telecommunication systems currently in use (2.5 GB/ sec on SONET/SDH), and 500:1 over telecommunication systems just now being developed (10 GB/sec on SONET/SDH). However, the claim that this is sufficient "..to engage in a very large group Video Teleconference" is way out of scale....the current 2.5 GB/sec is sufficient to transmit all the information in a full set of encyclopedias 5 times per second.... 5 MBit per second is sufficient to transmit compressed videoconferencing for a few people - and this claim is for 5 TBit per second, about 1,000,000 times faster?? Okay, more about the TCAP technology: ========================================== "The Transcapacitor (TCAP) on the other hand, requires only a few electrons in order to set its state, and because it 'exciter electrons' transform into Polarons, whereupon they 'set the state' of the device by digging into its molecular structure and altering the very bonds between its various atoms, does not convert those electrons to heat, instead, they tunnel their way out and can be recycled back onto the 'exciter', without producing any (or at least, producing extremely little) heat at all. This new Technology of Polaronics, stands to CHANGE EVERYTHING about the way we look at and manufacture Logical, Amplifying, and Oscillating DIGITAL Semiconductor Devices" *********************** So far, the description uses scientific terms and technical terms in ways that are not inconsistent with the definitions of those terms. In other words, it doesn't sound totally ridiculous. Polarons are discussed in the literature, although the only place I could find use of the term "Polaroncs", other than in the sites associated with TCAP/ACC, was for a company that used Polaronics as a name for a line of equipment they manufactured. Continuing with the TCAP technology quotes: ============================================= "The most interesting aspect of this endeavor, is the company's publication of information on the Internet, which makes the project and its work product indistinguishable from both legitimate and illegitimate announcements on the Web, thereby leaving it up to the individual reader to perform further research into the new area of science, 'Polaronics' (formerly dubbed 'Positronics'), the principles of 'electron trapping' within molecular and submolecular sized semiconductor switches: to determine the veracity of ACC's representations about this new field of technology. ********************************** The phrase, " 'Polaronics' (formerly dubbed 'Positronics')", is stretching credibility just a bit. Scientists are very concerned about precise usage of words. If a field called Polaronics existed, it would be related to polarons, and if a field called positronics existed, it would be related to positrons. Polarons are related to normal electrons; here is a definition from http://www.europe.apnet.com/inscight/01151997/polaron1.htm: polaron - from Solid-State Physics: • in a crystal lattice, an electron surrounded by a cloud of phonons; the combination produces local deformation in the crystal lattice due to electron-ion interaction. On the other hand, positrons are positively charged electrons - difficult and expensive to produce, and which are annihilated by contact with normal, negatively charged electrons, so having a lifetime much less than a second. Positrons and polarons are totally different concepts - it is incredibly unlikely that a field would be called "positronics", then renamed "polaronics". Back to the history of the TCAP technology: ================= "THE TRANSFER CAPACITOR ("TCAP") The Transfer Capacitor was invented by the American Computer Company’s chief scientist, Jack A. Shulman, based on the adaptation of a new area of Semiconductor Science, called "electron trapping". He discovered it, after reviewing documents provided us by Mrs. Jeffrey Proskauer, widow of a former scientist employed by the Army and Bell Labs in the 50’s. He and his wife claimed to have ‘witnessed an Alien Spacecraft captured and in the possession of Bell Labs and the Z-Division, which I was asked to assist in the disassembly of.’ ****************** I am speechless here. It reminds me of a quote from the movie, "Airplane", in which one character says, "Surely, you can't be serious!", and the other character says, "I am serious...and don't call me 'Shirley'"... Okay, finally, a description of how the transcapacitor, or TCAP, works: ================ "The TCAP is based on the following principle of science, which Jack Shulman had experimented with some years ago, and adapted to the task of ‘recreating what Proskauer claimed was an alien device’: Silver-Alkane, a weakly bonded material that comprises a ‘dielectric’ metal insulator junction, can be made to ‘semi conduct’. This is almost an impossibility, as Silver-Alkane does not ordinarily allow electrons to flow across its molecules, however, the proper formula, based on the observations of Proskauer, caused Shulman to suspect that the bonds between the elements in the junction were 'elastic' as well as 'weak', and that just the right amount of additional sub-atomic energy, might increase the 'radii' of the bonds just enough, to allow electrons to flow 'in abundance' across the junction. " ************************ Here, at last, I am disappointed. As I mentioned, the concept of a device that works on the principal of changing the behavior of a capacitor, versus changing the behavior of a resistor (origin of the name "Transistor"), was intriguing...but, here, the device is described as if it works along the same lines of any old transistor, except that it uses Silver-Alkane, which is claimed "..can be made to semiconduct", rather than using silicon or gallium arsenide, which are semiconductors. The transcapacitor is claimed to "...allow electrons to flow in abundance across the junction" -- JUST LIKE A NORMAL TRANSISTOR works! Back to the TCAP/ACC claims: =================== "Jack Shulman, its inventor, is ecstatic that we were able to SCOOP Lawrence Berkeley, IBM, AT&T, and Intel, and wants everyone in the Public to be aware of the fact that this new area of science is likely to completely revolutionize the entire world of electronics: its 10,000 times faster, lower powered (by a long shot) and a lot smaller (molecular sized gates are possible) than today’s TTL logic chips. **************** Okay, here I may be nitpicking, but - well - today's computers generally DO NOT use TTL logic chips, except perhaps for a few "glue logic" or bus interface functions. Today's computers use CMOS logic. Overall, I found the sites on TCAP rather intriguing, and the terminology used was rather impressive, but by no means in the same league as the impressiveness of the performance claims. Nonetheless, while I am unwilling to state that what you have read about the 'transfer capacitor' is untrue, I will agree with your comment that it "sounds unbelievable. "
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