Carbon nanotube digital electronics


It is anticipated that the scaling of silicon complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) devices will end around 2020, but alternative technologies capable of maintaining advances in computing power and energy efficiency have not yet been established. Among various options, carbon-nanotube-based electronics has been shown to be one of the most promising candidates. A range of methods have been developed to prepare high-purity semiconducting carbon nanotubes suitable for use in integrated circuits, and 5 nm nanotube transistors with superior performance to that of silicon CMOS have been demonstrated. Here, we explore the potential of carbon nanotube digital electronics. We examine the development of nanotube-based CMOS field-effect transistors and the different nanotube material systems available to build integrated circuits. We also highlight the medium-scale integrated circuits created to date and consider the challenges that exist in delivering large-scale systems.

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Fig. 1: Fabrication and characteristics of CNT FETs.
Fig. 2: CNT-based scaled FETs.
Fig. 3: CNT material systems for electronics applications.
Fig. 4: Medium-scale CNT integrated circuits.
Fig. 5: CNT-based five-stage ring-oscillator circuit.


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This work was supported by the National Key Research & Development Program (grant nos. 2016YFA0201901 and 2016YFA0201902), the National Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 61621061, 61427901 and 61888102), and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (grant no. D171100006617002 1-2). Figure 3d was supplied by W. Sun, who is gratefully acknowledged.

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L.-M.P. conceived the project. Z.Z and C.Q. prepared the figures and co-wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lian-Mao Peng.

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Peng, LM., Zhang, Z. & Qiu, C. Carbon nanotube digital electronics. Nat Electron 2, 499–505 (2019).

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