Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every eighteen months. However current silicon technologies are approaching the limits imposed by quantum mechanics, which will stop Moore’s Law in its tracks within 20 years. New materials and techniques must be found to complement and increase the capabilities of the current silicon technologies to maintain the growth and profitability of the semi-conductor industry.
Semiconducting carbon nanotubes can be doped like silicon, and are one of the best candidate materials for replacing current semiconductors. A nanotube is about 1/500th the size of a current transistor and has excellent electrical properties. However, current production methods create a mixture of nanotubes with both semiconducting and metallic properties that makes them expensive and difficult to use. A simple method for producing clean, well-dispersed, high purity semiconducting carbon nanotubes would have significant commercial benefits.
The Oxford Invention is a technique for purifying samples of carbon nanotubes to remove both general metallic and graphitic contamination. A product containing more than 90% semiconducting nanotubes can already be produced, and further increases in the proportion of semiconducting nanotubes in the final product are expected as development continues. The technology can be used for both single-walled nanotubes and multi-walled nanotubes.
Kim Bruty | alfa
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Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.
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NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.
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In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.
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The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).
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