Inside a microprocessor are tiny electronic switches that collectively do computations. These tiny switches are called transistors. Usually, transistors are made up with silicon. This microprocessor’s transistors, however, are different.
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The transistors inside this microprocessor are not made with silicon. Rather, they are made with carbon nanotubes.
By devising techniques to overcome the nanoscale defects that often undermine individual nanotube transistors (SN: 7/19/17), researchers have created the first computer chip that uses thousands of these switches to run programs.
The prototype, described in the Aug. 29 Nature, is not yet as speedy or as small as commercial silicon devices. But carbon nanotube computer chips may ultimately give rise to a new generation of faster, more energy-efficient electronics.
This is “a very important milestone in the development of this technology,” says Qing Cao, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign not involved in the work.
Check this in more detail over at Science News.
(Image Credit: G. Hills et al/ Nature 2019)