The development of next-generation wireless communication technology requires integrated radiofrequency devices capable of operating at frequencies greater than 90 GHz. Carbon nanotube field-effect transistors are promising for such applications, but key performance metrics, including operating frequency, at present fall below theoretical predictions. Here we report radiofrequency transistors based on high-purity carbon nanotube arrays that are fabricated using a double-dispersion sorting and binary liquid interface aligning process. The nanotube arrays exhibit a density of approximately 120 nanotubes per micrometre, a maximum carrier mobility of 1,580 cm2 V−1 s−1 and a saturation velocity of up to 3.0 × 107 cm s−1. The resulting field-effect transistors offer high d.c. performance (on-state current of 1.92 mA µm−1 and peak transconductance of 1.40 mS μm−1 at a bias of −0.9 V) for operation at millimetre-wave and terahertz frequencies. Transistors with a 50 nm gate length show current-gain and power-gain cutoff frequencies of up to 540 and 306 GHz, respectively, and radiofrequency amplifiers can exhibit a high power gain (23.2 dB) and inherent linearity (31.2 dBm output power of the third-order intercept point) in the K-band (18 GHz).
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We thank C. Jin (Zhejiang University) and S. Ding (Xiangtan University) for TEM technique support, and H. Liu and B. Sun (Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) for S-parameter, single-tone and two-tone measurement support. This work is supported by the National Key Research & Development Program (grant no. 2016YFA0201901), the National Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 61888102 and 61671020) and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (grant no. Z181100004418011).
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Electronics thanks Qingwen Li and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Shi, H., Ding, L., Zhong, D. et al. Radiofrequency transistors based on aligned carbon nanotube arrays. Nat Electron 4, 405–415 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-021-00594-w
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