The silicon transistors in your computer may be replaced in ten years by transistors based on carbon nanotubes. This is what scientists at the University of Gothenburg are hoping they have developed a method to control the nanotubes during production.
Silicon is subject to certain limitations, and industry is looking for a replacement. The electronics industry has net annual sales of over USD 200 billion, and this means that the development is being fuelled by powerful forces.
Scientist Johannes Svensson from the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg has investigated the manufacture and use of carbon nanotubes in his PhD thesis.
Faster and smaller
"I don't believe that it will be cheaper to build transistors from another material than silicon, but carbon nanotubes can be used to produce smaller and faster components. This will also result in computers that consume less energy" says Johannes Svensson.
The amazing development in computer power that has taken place after the invention of the integrated circuit in the 1950s has been made possible by the transistor, which is the most important component of all processors, becoming ever-faster.
Increase the speed
The most common semiconductor material in transistors is silicon, since it is cheap and easy to process. But silicon has its limitations. As the size of the transistors is reduced in order to increase their speed, problems arise that lead to, among other things, increased energy consumption and large variation in the transistor properties.
By exchanging the silicon in the channel for a carbon nanotube, the transistors can be made both smaller and faster than today's transistors. A carbon nanotube is a molecule in form of a hollow cylinder with a diameter of around a nanometer (roughly 1/50,000 of the width of a human hair) which consists of pur
|Contact: Johannes Svensson|
University of Gothenburg