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Nanotube electronics for radiofrequency applications


Electronic devices based on carbon nanotubes are among the candidates to eventually replace silicon-based devices for logic applications. Before then, however, nanotube-based radiofrequency transistors could become competitive for high-performance analogue components such as low-noise amplifiers and power amplifiers in wireless systems. Single-walled nanotubes are well suited for use in radiofrequency transistors because they demonstrate near-ballistic electron transport and are expected to have high cut-off frequencies. To achieve the best possible performance it is necessary to use dense arrays of semiconducting nanotubes with good alignment between the nanotubes, but techniques that can economically manufacture such arrays are needed to realize this potential. Here we review progress towards nanotube electronics for radiofrequency applications in terms of device physics, circuit design and the manufacturing challenges.

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Figure 1: Different ways to align nanotubes.
Figure 2: The nanotube field-effect transistor.
Figure 3: Improvements over time.
Figure 4: Frequency performance of different materials.
Figure 5: Resistance performance.
Figure 6: Mobility performance.
Figure 7: Nanotubes are performing increasingly complex roles in AM radios.


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This work was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, Northrop Grumman and the Korean National Science Foundation (KOSEF) World Class University (WCU) programme.

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Correspondence to Peter Burke.

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P.B. is an advisor for and holds equity in RF Nano Corporation, which is commercializing carbon nanotube electronics.

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Rutherglen, C., Jain, D. & Burke, P. Nanotube electronics for radiofrequency applications. Nature Nanotech 4, 811–819 (2009).

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