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Carbon nanotubes fit by the thousands onto a chip

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Carbon nanotubes’ electronic properties have long been lauded but still have not made it into chips

Scientists have demonstrated methods that could see higher-performance computer chips made from tiny straws of carbon called nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes have long been known to have electronic properties superior to current silicon-based devices.

But difficulties in manipulating them have hampered nanotube-based chips.

The experiments, reported in Nature Nanotechnology, show a kind of two-part epoxy approach to individually place the nanotubes at high density.

The race is on in the semiconductor chip industry to replace current silicon technology – methods to make smaller and therefore faster devices will soon come up against physical limits on just how small a silicon device can be.

Study co-author James Hannon, a materials scientist at IBM, said that there are few realistic successors to silicon’s throne.

“The problem is you have to put it in to production on a 10- or 15-year time scale, so the kinks have to be worked out in the next few years,” he said.

“If you look at all the possibilities out there, there are very few that have actually produced an electronic device that would outperform silicon – there are exotic things out there but they’re all still at the ‘PowerPoint stage’.”

Though single nanotubes have shown vastly superior speed and energy characteristics in lab demonstrations, the challenge has been in so-called integration – getting billions of them placed onto a chip with the precision the industry now demands…..

Read more at: www.bbc.co.uk

Written by physicsgg

October 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Posted in TECHNOLOGY

Tagged with ,

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