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Russian scientists design new and improved nanotubes for use in electronics

The study will help shape a new generation of electronics

MOSCOW, November 22. /TASS/. Researchers from the Skoltech Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and Tomas Jones Watson IBM Research Center have found out that silicon nanotubes are flattened under the impact of metal and put forward new techniques for avoiding this headache, Skoltech’s press office reported.

The study by Russian scientists will help shape a new generation of electronics, making use of carbon instead of silicon. A scholarly article on this has been published recently in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Silicon microprocessors are an essential part of almost all electronic devices ranging from mobile phones to airplanes. However, silicon’s capabilities have been practically maxed out. It is getting much more difficult to amplify silicon processors while simultaneously diminishing their size. Carbon nanotubes, which are monoatomic layers of graphene rolled in tubes, can replace silicon. These nanotubes outperform silicon based on their electric properties, but at a certain size of less than several dozen nanometers, their resistance rapidly increases.

"The resistance of transistors is composed of channel resistance and contact resistance. In the case of carbon nanotubes, the channel resistance is better when compared to silicon of the same length. Nevertheless, the nanotubes transistors with a long channel are not needed for high-performance computations, and when the size of nanotubes is decreased to several dozen nanometers, the contact resistance starts dominating," Head of the research and Skoltech Professor Vasiliy Perebejnos said.

The study has shown that the resistance increases because the metal used for junctions of a transistor flatten nanotubes because of surface tension. The researchers presume that if smaller diameter nanotubes are used for manufacturing transistors, this flattening impact becomes less critical. Additionally, one could apply metals with smaller surface tension.