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Smallest-Ever Nanotube Transistors Outperform Silicon

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Nanotube Transistor

An IBM conceptual illustration shows a nanotube positioned between the source and drain of a transistor.

Credit: IBM

IBM researchers have developed a nine-nanometer carbon-nanotube transistor that performs better than any other transistor at its size.

IBM researchers say this is the first experimental evidence that any material is a viable potential replacement for silicon at a size smaller than 10 nanometers. "The results really highlight the value of nanotubes in the most sophisticated type of transistors," says University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor John Rogers.

The researchers tested how the size of a nanotube transistor affected its performance, making multiple transistors of different sizes along a single nanotube, which enabled them to control for any variations that might occur from nanotube to nanotube. Although their techniques are not ready for mass production, they have produced the first nanotube devices smaller than 10 nanometers. The researchers showed that its nine-nanotube transistor had much lower power consumption than other transistors of similar size, and it can carry more current than silicon devices.

The researchers now plan to develop better methods for making pure batches of semiconducting nanotubes and a method for placing large numbers of nanotubes on a surface with perfect alignment.

From Technology Review 
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