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November 14th, 2007

Nanotechnology circuit boards

Abstract:
For the past several years, carbon nanotubes have been heralded as the most promising nanotechnology in the race to make faster, more powerful computers and portable electronic devices. In principle, carbon nanotubes can play the same role as silicon does in electronic circuits, but at a molecular scale where silicon and other standard semiconductors don't work. Nanotubes have high tensile strength, ductility, resistance to heat, and relative chemical inactivity. The composition and geometry of carbon nanotubes produce a unique electronic complexity, partially due to their size, because quantum physics governs at the nanometer scale. But graphite itself is a very unusual material. While most electrical conductors can be classified as either metals or semiconductors, graphite is one of the rare materials known as a semi-metal, delicately balanced somewhere between the two. By combining graphite's semi-metallic properties with the quantum rules of energy levels and electron waves, carbon nanotubes emerge as highly unusual conductors. Among different species of nanotubes, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are the most likely candidate for revolutionizing modern electronics industry. Although the electronics industry has already made significant progress in the dimensions of transistors in commercial chips, engineers still face great obstacles in continuing electronic miniaturization due to fundamental physical limits. While there are great economic incentives to shrink these personal devices further, the cost and engineering complexity of integrating carbon nanotubes into everyday electronics has been prohibitive. This challenge has stimulated a great deal of research into how to use carbon nanotubes in electronic devices, efficiently and inexpensively. One of the hottest areas of research involves the creation of large networks where carbon nanotubes can be aligned in preset patterns, allowing scientists to select a specific location and chirality for each carbon nanotube, and the ability to then integrate this network into an integrated circuit-compatible environment.

Source:
nanowerk.com

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