Nanotubes take us to 10GHz and beyond

Nanotubes take us to 10GHz and beyond


So you thought all your gadgets were just about as fast as they could get? Well, not just yet old boy, a group of UC Irvine scientists straight outta the Henry Samueli School of Engineering are the first to get carbon nanotubes to route electrical signals.

The technology takes us far beyond the current limitations of traditional copper and aluminum wires. Nanotube transistors are capable of transmitting speeds of up to 10 GHz, this breakthrough could eventually lead to faster and more efficient computer devices; faster access times between processing components, more efficient wireless networks, faster cellular phone systems and of course faster computers.

An assistant professor at UCI of electrical engineering and computer science, Peter Burke says that this technology can quickly route electronic signals from one transistor to another, thus removing the bottleneck. Imagine your next computer with a 10 GHz front-side bus?

A nanotube is primarily composed of carbon, it contains a graphite sheet that is wrapped into a cylinder without any seams, and measures just a few nanometers wide. Just so you understand how small this really is; a nanometer is one billionth of a meter, so close to 10 atoms side by side.

This is the first of many tasks to come, the team had previously demonstrated a nanotube connection, but never recorded how fast it actually transmitted. Next they hope to integrate a nanotube-transistor with high-speed nanotube-interconnect technology, this will no doubt be faster than any semiconductor technology on the face of this earth. But how durable and how long will these super-nanotubes last?