Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based transistors have been touted as a promising replacement for silicon since they were proposed in 1993 and demonstrated by IBM in 1998. However, first high cost, later a lack of scalable manufacturing processes, and overall a lack of need due to rapid improvements in silicon-based integrated circuits (ICs) prevented adoption or even large-scale investment in the development of CNT-based electronics despite the promise of higher speed and lower power. MIT researchers, funded by DARPA, have now demonstrated a CNT transistor-based IC manufactured at a standard 90 nm node foundry (processes dating back to around 2004). The researchers claim this approach promises 50 times lower power consumption, which makes multilayer 3D chips feasible.
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