IBM researchers build IC along length of single nanotube

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Mar. 24, 2006 – IBM announced that its researchers have built an integrated circuit around a single carbon nanotube molecule.

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The circuit was built using standard types of semiconductor processes, according to an IBM news release. It uses a single carbon nanotube molecule as the base for the other components in the circuit.

“Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform state-of-the-art silicon devices,” said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM Research, in a prepared statement. “However, scientists have focused so far on fabricating and optimizing individual carbon nanotube transistors. Now, we can evaluate the potential of carbon nanotube electronics in complete circuits — a critical step toward the integration of the technology with existing chip-making techniques.”

The circuit built by the IBM team is a ring oscillator — a type of circuit that chip makers build to evaluate new manufacturing processes or materials. By integrating the circuit around a nanotube, the IBM team said it observed circuit speeds faster than previously demonstrated circuits with multiple nanotubes.

The IBM scientists will use the oscillator to test carbon nanotube transistors and circuits and to gauge their performance. The work was reported in a paper titled “An Integrated Logic Circuit Assembled on a Single Carbon Nanotube” that appears in today’s issue of the journal Science.


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