Carbon nanotubes in a race against time to replace silicon

Nascent carbon nanotube chip technology may save the computer industry from silicon’s presumed looming demise. Or it may not.

Scientists at IBM and Stanford have created a Carbon Nanotube that has the possbility of replacing common silicon computer chips. The CNTs are 1 carbon atom thick and are excellenct conductors of electricity. It is hoped that these CNTs can be utiized in the near future when Moore's Law is no longer applicable in today's industry.

Since individual CNTs don't carry enough current for a functional transistor, five or six parallel tubes are required for one connection. The tubes must be laid 6nm or 7nm apart to minimize interference, but greater separation would waste space. The main obstacle to the commercialization of CNTs is the need to improve their connectivity with other conductors used in the system, like silicon and copper. Within 3 to 4 chip generations, the developers hope to have made the CNT a feasbile technology and applicable in various processing chips.To read more, visit: ACM News.