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August 17th, 2010
There is still much work to be done with carbon nanotubes before their potential usage within semiconductors can be realised. However, if they are used alongside new types of plastic materials, or polymers, to create components, they can be produced far more cheaply and easily than equivalent silicon structures - something that could have a huge impact on the IT industry as a whole.
"The thing about polymer-based electronics is that it has the capacity to go even lower [on cost], while the manufacturing facilities will not cost anywhere near as much," says Tully.
"Right now, if somebody wants to build a new semiconductor wafer plant with state-of-the-art technology, that will cost $5bn to $6bn, and there is only room in the world for about two or three companies able to do that. But with polymer-based facilities, that manufacturing capability could be extended to thousands of businesses which could fabricate their own type of semiconductors rather than buy in silicon chips from elsewhere."
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