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Carbon nanotube transistor reaches 25GHz

09 May 2013

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Carbon nanotube transistor

A carbon nanotube transistor created by engineers from the University of Southern California (USC) now holds the record for being the fastest in its class, taking us closer to a future of further shrinking electronic devices.

The new carbon nanotube transistor has an extrinsic performance of 25GHz. By comparison, its closest competitor, built by the Institut d'Électronique de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie, peaks at 15GHz.

"This is the very first report of analogue circuits based on self-aligned nanotube array transistors operated in the gigahertz regime," said Chongwu Zhou, professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

"The characterisation of nanotube transistor-based analogue circuits is of great importance for further exploring the potential of nanotubes in high-frequency applications with fast speed and low-power consumption requirement," he added.

The new transistor takes advantage of a new T-shaped design that is a mere 200nm wide. The design helps reduce parasitic effects on the transistor's performance and boosts the speed of the transistor's response by scaling down its channel length. Zhou and his team recently patented the design.

Though current carbon nanotube-based designs come nowhere near the older silicon technology—which can perform at around 500GHz—they have the potential, theoretically, to reach 1,000GHz frequency performance.

Zhou and his research group continue to work on optimising carbon nanotube-based analogue electronics. Their final goal is to generate carbon nanotube transistors and circuits that offer superior performance to traditional industrial technology.

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