Being from a university with a brilliant nanocarbon group, I’m very excited about the news reported in New Scientist yesterday that the first ever computer made from carbon nanotubes has been created.
I spent a portion of my undergraduate studies learning all about carbon nanotubes, and I find them incredibly interesting. Our nanocarbon group at Nottingham have produced a string of high-impact publications in this area, so it’s a topic that comes up often in department presentations and poster sessions. Carbon nanotubes have amazing, unique properties, and many important applications have been suggested since their discovery. This is a chance for the world to see one of those applications become a possibility.
Scientists at Stanford University have combined 178 nanotube transistors to make a very simple computer, but it’s still proof that nanotube computers could be a thing of the future. With their unique electrical properties, nanotubes make faster transistors than the silicon ones currently in use, and this simple computer is already capable of performing two different numerical tasks.
Theoretically, this nanocarbon computer could computer anything a regular PC can, just much more slowly.
This work is a big milestone in the path to an all-carbon computer, and really proves that carbon nanotubes can have the brilliant applications we hoped they would.