IBM has managed to create a carbon nanotube transistor that is more powerful than silicon, and even smaller than it’s predecessor. When it comes to processors and transistors, silicon is the material of choice. The problem however is that once it reaches it’s physical limit, it no longer works and will just fizz off.
That limit is 11nm (nanometers) and scientists have been working on ways of either fixing that, or finding an alternative. Intel has also been doing much research into this area as they’re a top seller of processors.
“IBM has demonstrated a nine nanometer (9nm) carbon nanotube transistor (CNT) — the smallest CNT ever made, and significantly smaller than any commercial silicon transistor. At 9nm, IBM’s transistor is also smaller than the physical limit of silicon transistors, which is around 11nm.”
“Beyond its diminutive size, the 9nm CNT is capable of switching at very low voltages (0.5V), thus consuming less power than its silicon counterparts — but it can also carry four times as much current, meaning a better signal quality and a wider range of applications.”
The benefit of this is very clear: More powerful connections and the ability to go incredibly small means far more powerful processors. Using this carbon nanotube transistor, albeit is a very long ways away, will allow for next generation processing.
While what we currently have now is very fast and impressive, what we’ll have in a decade (or less) will be many times beyond that.
Is IBM onto something here?