Nanotubes As Transistors In Integrated Circuits

IBM researchers have made a breakthrough by using nanotubes as transistors in integrated circuits.

IBM has created an integrated circuit with a carbon nanotube, a first that shows the feasibility of one day using the touted tubes for commercial devices, the firm said.

IBM made nanotube transistors before, but an integrated circuit is more complicated. Transistors are essentially on-off switches, while an integrated circuit is a collection of transistors that work together to perform a function. The IBM scientists will now use the ring oscillator to test improved carbon nanotube transistors and circuits, and to gauge their performance in complete chip designs.

Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform state-of-the-art silicon devices,” TC Chen, vice-president of science & technology at IBM Research, said in a statement. “However, scientists have focused so far on fabricating and optimising individual carbon nanotube transistors. Now, we can evaluate the potential of carbon nanotube electronics in complete circuits — a critical step toward the integration of the technology with existing chipmaking techniques.

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