As semiconductor Silicon’s capacity is already exhausted to provide any more advancement in the chip technology, scientists and researchers look towards Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene to carry on the advancement and prevent the collapse of Moore’s Law completely. Experts and researchers have argued over what could be next choice for making microchips faster and more space efficient? Carbon Nanotubes or Graphene ?
While experts argue over the future, IBM announces this week that its first commercial Carbon Nanotube(CNT) chip to be ready by 2020. Carbon Nanotubes are rolled up tubes of Graphene itself and are only single atom thick and they have properties of metal & semiconductor based on orientation(chirality). Carbon Nanotubes can do things at nanometer scale that Silicon cannot do at the same scale, but for decades our IT industries was mostly dominated by Silicon, and carbon nanotubes or any other options were not even on maps until few years.
The biggest challenge for the scientists and researchers is how much they can utilize the same old manufacturing techniques to produce this new material, as companies and industries would be finding ways to reduce the cost of producing the new material. And also, it’s mechanically very difficult to pack things that closely together without losing quality(heating and flying capacitance) and accuracy in manufacturing.
IBM has already built a chip entirely made out of CNT, which had about 10,000 transistors, but that’s still way, way too small than we build on a chip. But as calculated by IBM, a chip if fully constructed, it would be 6 times more faster than modern day chip.
The graphene and CNT’s are seen as the short term solutions to this as other rival technologies hich are far better than CNTs are already in development such as quantum computers to optical computers, and also have far greater computational speeds than CNT’s.
If by 2020, CNT chips are not in the market than computer hardware industry would slow down.