Carbon nanotubes could soon replace silicon in computer chips

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 30, 2012 09:40 hrs

Researchers at IBM including one of an Indian origin have developed a new technique to mass produce carbon nanotubes that can replace silicon in computer chips to create smaller, faster circuits.

The team revealed they have created a carbon 'chip' with more than ten thousand working transistors made of nano-sized tubes of carbon, which have been precisely placed and tested in a single, the Daily Mail reported.

Carbon nanotubes are single atomic sheets of carbon rolled up into a tube.

The carbon nanotube forms the core of a transistor device that will work in a fashion similar to the current silicon transistor, but will be better performing.

They could be used to replace the transistors in chips that power our data-crunching servers, high performing computers and ultra fast smart phones.

These carbon devices are poised to replace and outperform silicon technology allowing further miniaturization of computing components and leading the way for future microelectronics, IBM said.

Electrons in carbon transistors can move easier than in silicon-based devices allowing for quicker transport of data.

The nanotubes are also ideally shaped for transistors at the atomic scale, an advantage over silicon, according to IBM's team.

"Carbon nanotubes, borne out of chemistry, have largely been laboratory curiosities as far as microelectronic applications are concerned," the paper quoted Supratik Guha, Director of Physical Sciences at IBM Research, as saying.

"We are attempting the first steps towards a technology by fabricating carbon nanotube transistors within a conventional wafer fabrication infrastructure," she noted.

The team added that "As this new placement technique can be readily implemented, involving common chemicals and existing semiconductor fabrication, it will allow the industry to work with carbon nanotubes at a greater scale and deliver further innovation for carbon electronics." (ANI)

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