IBM scientists present tiny computer circuit

Taking another step toward post-silicon semiconductors, IBM Corp. scientists on Sunday presented a computer circuit made from a carbon nanotube, a tube-shaped molecule of carbon atoms that is 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

The IBM scientists created a voltage inverter out of a single strand of carbon. A voltage inverter is one of three logic circuits that form the basis of current microprocessors. An inverter in a chip changes ones into zeros, and vice versa. The circuit was presented Sunday at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago, IBM said in a statement.

Scientists at IBM say they discovered a way to allocate two different ways of carrying electrical current on a single nanotube, making it suitable to function as a voltage inverter. All previous carbon nanotube transistors could only carry electrical current in one way, according to IBM.

Carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders of carbon atoms, are the top candidate to replace silicon when current chip features just can't be made any smaller, IBM said. The company expects that barrier to occur in about 10 to 15 years. The beyond-silicon technology promises not only smaller, but also more powerful computers as chipmakers will be able to fit more transistors onto a chip.

The single-molecule computer circuit is IBM's second achievement using carbon this year. In April the same IBM team presented a technique to produce arrays of carbon nanotube transistors. The smaller size of carbon nanotube semiconductors allows more transistors to be placed on a chip than is possible using silicon.

The IBM team, led by Phaedon Avouris, is now working to create more complex circuits, which it sees as the next step to molecular computers. In addition the IBM scientists are working to improve the performance of individual nanotube transistors and to further integrate them into more complex circuits.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?