IBM claims carbon nanotube chip development breakthrough

Carbon nanotubes could usher in a new era of faster, smaller processors

Even though Moore's Law can't last forever as the rate in which technology gets smaller and faster will inevitably plateau, IBM isn't quite ready to give up on trying.

Using the latest carbon nanotube technology, IBM claimed to have discovered a way to continue making smaller, faster processors.

According to the New York Times, scientists at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. have fashioned a new chip that combines a silicon wafer with a nanotube overlay.

The result is a hybrid of the aging and burgeoning technologies capable of 10,000 working transistors.

A new atomic age

The amount of transistors on a chip has doubled with startling consistency since the silicon chip was first introduced.

Current silicon chips were perceived to last for two or three more generations before there were no more advancements to be made.

However, thanks to IBM's latest breakthrough, it will be possible for manufacturers to continue making smaller and even faster chips.

"These devices outperformed any other switches made from any other material," Dr. Supratik Guha, director of physical sciences told the New York Times.

"We had suspected this all along, and our device physicists had simulated this, and they showed that we would see a factor of five or more performance improvement over conventional silicon devices."

IBM isn't sure how much longer it will take to perfect the process, but Dr. Guha believes purer carbon nanotubes are needed.

Right now, the carbon nanotubes being used are metallic, and as a result don't make good semiconductors.

That said, Dr. Guha believes IBM will be capable of making 99.99 percent pure carbon nanotubes in the future, and possibly within the next decade.

Via SlashGear, New York Times