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Stanford engineers perfecting carbon nanotubes for highly energy-efficient computing
Date:6/14/2012

Energy efficiency is the most significant challenge standing in the way of continued miniaturization of electronic systems, and miniaturization is the principal driver of the semiconductor industry. "As we approach the ultimate limits of Moore's Law, however, silicon will have to be replaced in order to miniaturize further," said Jeffrey Bokor, deputy director for science at the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Professor at UC-Berkeley.

To this end, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a significant departure from traditional silicon technologies and a very promising path to solving the challenge of energy efficiency. CNTs are cylindrical nanostructures of carbon with exceptional electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. Nanotube circuits could provide a ten-times improvement in energy efficiency over silicon.

The Stanford team's work was featured recently as an invited paper at the prestigious International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) as well as a "keynote paper" in the highly regarded IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems.

Early promise

When the first rudimentary nanotube transistors were demonstrated in 1998, researchers imagined a new age of highly efficient, advanced computing electronics. That promise, however, is yet to be realized due to substantial material imperfections inherent to nanotubes that left engineers wondering whether CNTs would ever prove viable.

Over the last few years, a team of Stanford engineering professors, doctoral students, undergraduates, and high-school interns, led by Professors Subhasish Mitra and H.-S. Philip Wong, took on the challenge and has produced a series of breakthroughs that represent the most advanced computing and storage elements yet created using CNTs.

"The first CNTs wowed the research community with their exceptional electrical, thermal and mechanical properties over a dec
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Contact: Andrew Myers
admyers@stanford.edu
650-736-2245
Stanford School of Engineering
Source:Eurekalert  

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