This refers to the technological concept that very small Y-shaped tubes (one atom thick and ten atoms long) made completely from carbon can also be used as miniature electrical switches within a larger technological setting. This saves a lot of space, weight and manufacturing cost, making it very attractive for industries and businesses to continue to research this technology.
The range of possible applications is stunning. It could be used in nano-surgical machinery that can target the smallest cancerous tissue, or can clean out a heart artery from the inside without surgery, because the size of the instrumentation can be much smaller without the machinery usually needed to activate its power source.
A nano switch in the domain of information technology is a device that has the capability to change between on and off states and is very small in size. Scientists at the University of Manchester have succeeded in creating a switch that is 10 atoms wide and 1 atom thick using a material called graphene. Graphene is a single layer of graphite which is a form of carbon and the substance used to make pencil leads.
Using nano switches to make computers allows scientists to create devices the size of ordinary computers that run 1000 times faster. Current silicon chips are built with transistors that have a size in the range of a few micro meters. Nano switches are 1000 times smaller and could allow computer circuits to be 1000 times smaller. Though the present problems with nano switches do not allow them to be used in practical integrated circuits, nanotechnology is the next realm of technological development.