A Series Of Nanotubes
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Our friends in IBM Research announced today a landmark study in the field of nanoelectronics: the development and demonstration of novel techniques to measure the distribution of energy and heat in powered carbon nanotube devices.
Carbon nanotubes are tiny molecular tubes about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair and consist of rolled up sheets of carbon hexagons, similar to an atomic scale chicken wire.
They have become leading candidates as wires and active channels for future computer chips, as they can be packed thousands of times closer than the components on standard chips.
Scientists have known for years that carbon nanotube devices get "hot" during operation, but it was not known how to measure the effects and understand the transfer of energy within the device structures and how that heat was dissipated.
IBM research scientists were able to study a single, semiconducting carbon nanotube incorporated as the active channel of a transistor, and then measure the changes in optical properties of the nanotube as electricity flowed through it.
The scientists could use these changes as "thermometers" to probe how the electrical current's energy was dissipated through the atoms forming the nanotube.
The full results from this study were recently published in a recent issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
You can read more about this announcement here.