Carbon nanotubes are a term we here from time to time, but what exactly is it? Simply put it’s a sheet of graphene just one atom thick that is rolled up and this makes it lightweight and strong as steel. To most material scientists, they’re a near-perfect semi-conductor (a material that can conduct electricity, but which can also be shut off).
Recently Max Shulaker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his team created the first complex carbon nanotube microprocessor that sits atop a silicon wafer. A previous device had 178 transistors, Shulaker version has more than 14,000.
When compared to conventional silicon, carbon nanotube processors offer a couple of improvements. A processor made completely of carbon nanotubes will be 10 times more efficient. When it comes to the actual fabrication of the processor, silicon requires a temperature of 1000°C or higher, carbon nanotube transistors can be made at room temperature.
We are quickly reaching the end of what silicon can provide, carbon nanotubes may be what we turn to next as the limit for carbon nanotubes has yet to be discovered.