Skip to main content

IBM creates 9nm carbon nanotube transistor

IBM creates 9nm carbon nanotube transistor


Researchers at IBM have created a nine-nanometer transistor using carbon nanotubes, outstripping the theoretical ten-nanometer limit of silicon.

Share this story

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.

Image credit: Geoff Hutchison / Flickr