Carbon nanotubes are molecules of carbon that are structured as cylinders on the nanoscale. For the past few years, researchers have been using carbon nanotubes to make transistors instead of silicon. Now a team at USC has created a carbon nanotube transistor that has an extrinsic frequency (which defines its practical performance limit) of 25 GHz – 40% faster than the current record holder, which operates at 15 GHz. That makes the team’s nanotube transistor the fastest in the world.
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That is, they’re looking for an electronics material that both conducts electricity better and allows for smaller transistors. One key material being researched for that purpose is carbon, in the form of carbon nanotubes.
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