As silicon-based electronics are predicted to reach their absolute limits on performance around 2020, new technologies have been proposed to continue the trend in the miniaturization of electronic devices. One of these approaches consists of constructing field-effect transistors (FETs) directly on carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The resulting devices are on the scale of mere nanometers, although their fabrication is still a challenge.
Now in a new paper published in Nano Letters, researchers Tian Pei, et al., at Peking University in Beijing, China, have developed a modular method for constructing complicated integrated circuits (ICs) made from many FETs on individual CNTs. To demonstrate, they constructed an 8-bits BUS system—a circuit that is widely used for transferring data in computers—that contains 46 FETs on six CNTs. This is the most complicated CNT IC fabricated to date, and the fabrication process is expected to lead to even more complex circuits.