Nanoscale Electronics and Carbon Nanotubes

Many nanoelectronic companies are interested in developing new methods to manufacture transistors. Transistors are the key component of the electrical circuit that is used in the operation of computers, cellular phones, and other electronic devices. In fact transistors are used in nearly every piece of electronic equipment today.

The transistors are a key building block of electronic systems—they act as bridges inside the computer chip that carry data from one place to another. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the processing speed.

To manufacture more transistors on a chip, several companies are now experimenting on how to make the channel length in the transistors smaller and smaller. The channel in the transistor is the path where data travels from one place to another inside chips. Some success in this area has already happened. One company has successfully used carbon nanotubes to make smaller channels in the production of their transistors.

The achievement of making smaller channels in the production of transistors is an important step in finding materials, such as carbon nano-

tubes, to be used to manufacture computer chips. Moore's Law states that the number of transistors that can be packed on a chip doubles every 18 months. But many scientists expect that within 10-20 years the present computer chip made with silicon will reach its physical limits. The ability to pack more transistors on the chip will no longer be feasible. So the application of carbon nanotubes in transistors may help increase the storage problem on a chip.

^ To see a carbon nanotube form a channel, go to: php?subjectjd=268]

Did you know?

Moore's Law was a statement by George E. Moore, cofounder of Intel. Moore stated that the complexity of these circuits would double every 2 years.

Sciencenter of Ithaca, New York has a traveling nanotech exhibit called It's a Nano World and another called Too Small To See. Attending the exhibits, school-aged children can learn about tiny things by walking through and playing with very large and colorful things in a traveling science museum exhibition. In this photo, a group of students are building a carbon nanotube. (Courtesy Gary Hodges and the Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY)

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