A semiconductor is an electrically conductive substance that can also be turned off. This is a temperature-dependent feature incorporated into the material. Silicon is the most well-known semiconductor, since its ability to turn on and off allows it to store the binary states that make up contemporary computing.
Carbon nanotubes are significant because their small size—down to a few atoms makes them a compact semiconductor that, over time, might lead to smaller and smaller transistors in microprocessors, resulting in even more powerful computers.
What are Carbon Nanotubes and How Are They Made?
Carbon enjoys assembling itself into numerous shapes. Carbon, for example, will organise itself into a diamond under high pressure. Carbon nanotubes, on the other hand, are formed under pressure. Graphite, an allotrope of carbon, is essentially placed in a furnace at high temperature and pressure. The chamber is filled with inert gas, and particular metals are used to grow carbon nanotubes. Soot is produced when carbon is burned. Nanotubes can be seen inside the soot.
However, the challenge is to get pure nanotubes. Impurity in carbon nanotubes can take on the characteristics of metals, and their conductivity cannot be shut off.
It is feasible to make Carbon Nanotubes that are semiconducting 99.99% of the time, but it’s very hard to bring that number to 100%. However, the ideal technique to obtain the purest group of carbon nanotubes is in the form of a solution. As a result, the furnaced nanotubes are immersed in a solution that distinguishes between “metallic” and “semiconducting” nanotubes. After that, a polymer is used to assist exfoliate away any remaining blemishes. Then they are ready to accommodate into functional electronics.
What Happens When Nanotubes Become a Chip?
After the nanotubes have been separated, they may be put on a substrate (the surface that holds them together) and integrated into a fully functional device. Nanotube clusters on substrates can be joined together to form a bigger device. This isn’t the first carbon nanotube microprocessor, but it is the most complicated. There are almost 14,000 carbon nanotube transistors on 16 bit chips. Carbon nanotubes still have a long way to go in modern computer processors, which include billions of transistors, even in smartphone circuits.
On the other hand, in the future, Nanotube computer components might be merged with silicon components to boost the speed and lower chip sizes, boosting speeds and lowering chip sizes. At lower temperatures, carbon nanotubes can be driven into superconducting states, potentially making them more energy efficient than silicon.
So, Are Carbon Nanotubes just useful in computers?
Researchers are enthralled by carbon nanotubes because their promise extends beyond computing. Metallic nanotubes can replace copper in some applications where a strong conductor is required, in addition to being used to manufacture smaller scale computer components.
They can also be used in lithium ion batteries, which use graphite—and, increasingly, graphene—as electrodes. As a consequence, they have been demonstrated to double the storage capacity of batteries in some circumstances. They may also be accommodated in solar cells, biomedical devices, and composite materials, where their strength and light weight make them ideal for creating long-lasting, lightweight materials.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have a number of distinct qualities, including the greatest current density, ballistic transport, ultrahigh thermal conductivity, and exceptional mechanical strength. They are projected to be used as wire materials and alternate channel materials for expanding complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) performance in future very large scale integration (VLSI) technologies due to their outstanding features. The current state of CNT growth technologies, as well as their applications via interconnects (vertical wire) and field-effect transistors (FETs).
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