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Gigahertz integrated circuits based on carbon nanotube films


Progress in the controlled synthesis and post-growth treatment of carbon nanotubes has led to the fabrication of nanotube-based field-effect transistors with intrinsic performance close to the ballistic limits. However, nanotube-based integrated circuits (ICs) developed to date typically have a working frequency of less than 1 MHz, which is well below the working frequency of silicon ICs. Here we show that the speed of carbon nanotube ICs can be significantly improved by optimizing device structure and fabrication processes, yielding ICs that work in the gigahertz regime. Based on high-performance nanotube film field-effect transistors, five-stage ring oscillators were batch fabricated and shown to exhibit an oscillation frequency of up to 5.54 GHz. This is twenty times higher than that of the leading nanotube IC (a five-stage ring oscillator with an oscillation frequency of 282 MHz).

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Fig. 1: Structure and performance of top-gate FET based on solution-derived CNT films.
Fig. 2: CNT-film-based five-stage ring oscillator and structure optimization to achieve gigahertz oscillation frequency.
Fig. 3: Batch fabrication of CNT film ring oscillators and scaling down characteristic.

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This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (grant nos. 2016YF0201901 and 2016YF0201902), the National Science Foundation of China (nos. 61376126, 61621061, 61427901 and 61390504) and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (Grant Numbers D161100002616001-3).

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Authors and Affiliations



L.-M.P. and Z.Z. proposed and supervised the project. Z.Z. and L.-M.P. designed the experiment. D.Z. and L.D. designed the CNT-based ROs. D.Z. performed experiments with the devices and fabricated and characterized the ROs. L.X. helped characterize the ROs. J.H. prepared the carbon nanotube solutions. M.X., J.S. and C.Q. deposited and annealed the CNT films. D.Z., Z.Z. and L.-M.P. analysed the data and co-wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zhiyong Zhang or Lian-Mao Peng.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Zhong, D., Zhang, Z., Ding, L. et al. Gigahertz integrated circuits based on carbon nanotube films. Nat Electron 1, 40–45 (2018).

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