IBM has created 9nm transistors from carbon nanotubes, the same versatile material that the world's lightest material is constructed from and can also camouflage objects. In contrast, silicon has a theoretical limit of 10nm, and while transistor architectures are currently pushing 22nm, a presentation in July showed Intel could have 10nm chips ready by 2015 (PDF). Smaller architectures not only lead to smaller chips, but also lower power usage — something that the researchers say the carbon transistor delivered even better than expected.
It's still very early stages for the technology, as there are a couple of major barriers to overcome: any metal in the carbon mix will cause the whole transistor to short-circuit, and there's no known way to reliably place the nanotubes in perfect alignment to form complex circuits. Still, while it might be a while until this reaches your laptop or phone, it's good to know that Moore's Law has a future.
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