For The First Time New Carbon Nanotube Chip Outperforms Silicon Semiconductors

After years of attempts to harness the properties of carbon nanotubes to produce high-performance electronics, scientists have been successful in developing a new carbon nanotube chip which outperforms silicon semiconductors. The new carbon nanotubes could lead to faster wireless communication, longer battery life and high-speed processing speed for devices and above all use less energy.

Now, for the very first time, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed carbon nanotube transistors that exceed the performance of advanced silicon transistors. The huge breakthrough may forever change how microprocessors are produced.

Carbon Nanotube Outperforms Silicon Semiconductors

Carbon nanotubes have in theory thought to be able to perform five times faster than silicon transistors, but the same was never achieved till now. The problem with using carbon was its impurities. However, the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers used polymers to select the semiconducting nanotubes. By doing so, they achieved a solution of ultra-high-purity semiconductor carbon nanotubes.

“We’ve identified specific conditions in which you can get rid of nearly all metallic nanotubes, where we have less than 0.01 percent metallic nanotubes,” says Michael Arnold, a professor at the university and one of the lead researchers of the study.

Arnold and colleagues compared their carbon nanotube transistor against one silicon transistor of the same size, leakage current and geometry. In the end, they saw that the carbon nanotube transistors achieved a current that was 1.9 times higher than most silicon transistors.

Arnold says the team’s achievement has long been a dream of nanotechnology for the last two decades. He says such a big milestone is a crucial advancement in the use of carbon nanotubes for high-speed communications, logic and other electronic technologies.

However, the bigger question is whether semiconductor makers will embrace the new tech. The researchers say the transistors are especially promising for wireless communication technologies that depend on the current that flows across a small area.

In the meantime, the team is currently working on adapting the device to match the geometry in silicon transistors. They have patented the new technology through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

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