Researchers at the Stanford University announced on Wednesday that they have created the first-ever working carbon nanotube computer.
They published their discovery in this week’s edition of Nature. The researchers, led by professors Subhasish and H.S Philip Wong call it “CEDRIC”, which they say loosely stands for carbon nanotube digital integrated circuit.
The reason for the excitement over this advancement comes as current silicon transistor computing is soon reaching its limit as the transistors can not get much smaller due to quantum effects. The new carbon nanotube transistors are the way forward because they can conduct electricity better than silicon and on a smaller scale.
Put into practical terms, carbon nanotube-based computers will be faster and more energy-efficient, which is always a challenge for manufacturers every time there is a new generation of processor.
The future is not problem free however. This technology is still new but the Stanford researchers have been able to solve some of the problems surrounding error connection. The system they have developed can switch off defective carbon nanotubes and come up with an algorithm which addresses misaligned carbon nanotubes that can short-circuit the system.
“People have been talking about a new era of carbon nanotube electronics moving beyond silicon,” Mitra said in a statement. “But there have been few demonstrations of complete digital systems using this exciting technology. Here is the proof.”
Although this is a key breakthrough for the technology, CEDRIC is still not able to carry out complex computations like a normal PC but the future looks promising. No doubt carbon-nanotube computers will be what our children use in the coming years.
[Image via Stanford Unversity]