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Carbon nanotubes outperform copper nanowires as interconnects
Date:3/13/2008

Troy, N.Y. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a road map that brings academia and the semiconductor industry one step closer to realizing carbon nanotube interconnects, and alleviating the current bottleneck of information flow that is limiting the potential of computer chips in everything from personal computers to portable music players.

To better understand and more precisely measure the key characteristics of both copper nanowires and carbon nanotube bundles, the researchers used advanced quantum-mechanical computer modeling to run vast simulations on a high-powered supercomputer. It is the first such study to examine copper nanowire using quantum mechanics rather than empirical laws.

After crunching numbers for months with the help of Rensselaers Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, the most powerful university-based supercomputer in the world, the research team concluded that the carbon nanotube bundles boasted a much smaller electrical resistance than the copper nanowires. This lower resistance suggests carbon nanotube bundles would therefore be better suited for interconnect applications.

With this study, we have provided a road map for accurately comparing the performance of copper wire and carbon nanotube wire, said Saroj Nayak, an associate professor in Rensselaers Department of Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, who led the research team. Given the data we collected, we believe that carbon nanotubes at 45 nanometers will outperform copper nanowire.

The research results will be featured in the March issue of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.

Because of the nanoscale size of interconnects, they are subject to quantum phenomena that are not apparent and not visible at the macroscale, Nayak said. Empirical and semi-classical laws cannot account for such phenomena that take place on the atomic and subatomic level, and, as a result, models and s
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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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