updated 02:40 pm EST, Sat January 28, 2012
Nanotube transistors hit new record
IBM researchers have published results for a new nine-nanometer nanotube transistor that could redefine processors in the future. The carbon-based element is the first below 10 nanometers and is much more efficient than the best current silicon-based transistors. Because of the size and material, it can use considerably less power and takes on more of a current to improve the reliability.
To get to the smaller size, researchers used an extra-thin insulator and a two-part process to bring in the electrical gates while preserving the fragile structure. Challenges still exist, such as improving the production process for the nanotubes to avoid shorts as well as creating a method to scale the placement up to processor-size levels.
As with most research, the 9nm technology is still likely years away from the market. IBM's role as a semiconductor giant may see its technique reach the mainstream when ready. [via MIT Technology Review]