Complex circuits made of carbon nanotubes demonstrated

February 27, 2013

This wafer is patterned with a complex carbon nanotube circuit that serves as a sensor interface (credit: Stanford University)

A simple sensor circuit made of hard-to-handle but promising carbon nanotubes is a first step in making the materials practical for computing, MIT Technology Review reports.

Transistors made from these nanomaterials are faster and more energy efficient than silicon ones, and computer models predict that carbon nanotube processors could be ten times less power-hungry. But it’s proved difficult to turn individual transistors into complex working circuits.

Now researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated a way that this gap can be bridged, by building one of the most complex carbon nanotube circuits yet.

The demonstration carbon nanotube circuit shows that nanotube transistors can be made at high yields, says Subhasish Mitra, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who led the work with Philip Wong, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford.

“This shows that carbon nanotube transistors can be integrated into logic circuits that perform at low voltage,” says Aaron Franklin, who is developing nanotube electronics at the IBM Watson Research Center.