Hewlett-Packard are reporting a breakthrough in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level in order to permeate them with special electrical and chemical properties. Nanotechnology, which deals with devices typically less than 100 nanometers in size, is expected to make a significant contribution to the fields of computer storage, semiconductors, biotechnology, manufacturing and energy. At least, it is expected to do so one day.

Scientists at Hewlett-Packard have demonstrated that a layer of molecules just three-billionths of a meter thick can help store data during a computing operation without using traditional semiconductors, adding another piece to a portfolio of technology HP is assembling to perhaps one day construct computers that harness the strange effects of quantum mechanics.

In their recently published paper, the researchers report that they've built a functioning "crossbar latch": an electronic switch that can flip a binary 0 to a 1 and vice versa. This is made possible without the electronic transistors that make up the computers you and I are used to.

Nanotech remains an up-and-coming area, with AT&T, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft all researching its future application into computing.