IBM researchers have built the first complete electronic integrated circuit around a single "carbon nanotube" molecule.
The new material shows promise for providing enhanced performance over standard silicon semiconductors.
TC Chen, vice-president of science and technology at IBM Research, said, "Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform state-of-the-art silicon devices. Now, we can evaluate the potential of carbon nanotube electronics in complete circuits - a critical step toward the integration of the technology with existing chip-making techniques."
By integrating the complete circuit around a single nanotube, the IBM team observed circuit speeds nearly one million times faster than previously demonstrated circuits with multiple nanotubes.
Although this is still slower than the speeds obtained by silicon chips, the IBM team believes that new nanofabrication processes will eventually unlock the superior performance potential of carbon nanotube electronics.
The IBM scientists will now use the circuit to test improved carbon nanotube transistors and circuits and gauge their performance in complete chip designs.