Carbon nanotube chips could lead to pocket-sized super computers

Researchers claim that nanotubes have the potential to deliver higher computing technology.

By Silky Malhotra Published Date
17 - Jul - 2014
| Last Updated
17 - Jul - 2014
Carbon nanotube chips could lead to pocket-sized super computers

Researchers claim that theoretical 3D chip stack that interleaves next-gen memory and logic technologies using carbon nanotubes which could lead to pocket-sized super computers.

H.S. Philip Wong, Stanford University’s Professor of Electrical Engineering, recently talked about the future of computing power at a recent Semicon West conference. Wong stated in his talk that the material faces huge technical challenges, but the idea is that the interleaving of layers of resistive and magnetic RAM with logical layers made from 1D and 2D field effect transistors could result in a computing system that would theoretically be as powerful as the IBM Watson super computer, but in pocket-sized form.

"This design requires new, high-efficiency heat spreaders—the thermal aspect is critically important," he said. "The resulting design could provide a thousand-fold power reduction for the IBM system that consumed 175kW power to beat human contestants in the Jeopardy game show. That system packed 2,880 IBM Power 7 cores running at 3.5GHz delivering 80TFLOPS. All the content was loaded into Watson's DRAM, not hard drives, because so much energy is spent in moving data," said Wong.

Wong states three challenges in using the technology: "The material is not suitable for the high-temperature doping processes used in today’s chip fabs. Researchers still need to improve the purity of the material they grow. And, like all transistor materials, it faces challenges when contacts scale to increasingly small sizes."

Other companies are also exploring ways to utilize carbon nanotubes in order to advance computing technology. IBM recently announced that they have plans to produce the first commercial carbon nanotube chips by early 2020. The company is planning to invest I $3 billion over a period of five years to develop processors that are much smaller, tightly packed electronics that will be able to sustain computing progress in the longer run. IBM is also working on graphene to create a chip that is only 1 atom thick and could run your smartphone run longer.

Samsung is working on Graphene -synthesis to develop lighter and flexible electronic devices. Graphene which is one of the strongest and most durable materials on the planet is made of densely packed carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice. Researchers at Samsung have developed a new method to create high-quality graphene on silicon wafers, that could lead to mass production of graphene transistors. 

Source: EEtasia