Scientists have cast doubts over the potential of carbon nanotubes in future computing devices, claiming there are “major issues” with device reliability.
Carbon nanotubes have been touted as a key future material in processors and other technology because they have highly beneficial properties – such as being able to carry 1,000 times more electricity than metal of the same size - that could be used in miniaturised components.
However, tests at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggest device reliability is a major issue, with short life expectancy for nanotube interconnects and metal components attached to them.
The comments come after researchers fabricated and tested numerous nanotube interconnects between metal electrodes in a rough comparison of what might happen in a nanotube chip.
“Nanotubes can sustain extremely high current densities (tens to hundreds of times larger than that in a typical semiconductor circuit) for several hours but slowly degrade under constant current,” the researchers found.
“Of greater concern, the metal electrodes fail - the edges recede and clump - when currents rise above a certain threshold. The circuits failed in about 40 hours.”
The findings pose severe problems for potential commercial use of the carbon tubes, especially in performance-critical conditions.
“Copper wires transport power and other signals among all the parts of integrated circuits,” the researchers said. “Even one failed conductor can cause chip failure.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk