Physicist Joseph Friedman, along with colleagues from the University of Texas at Dallas, has developed a fundamentally new computing system created entirely from carbon that can replace modern silicon transistors and computers based on them.
Modern electronics uses silicon transistors in which negatively charged electrons generate an electric current. In addition to charge transfer, electrons have another property – spin, which has recently attracted the attention of scientists and may become the basis for a new class of “spin electronics”.
Spin switches, created by Joseph Friedman’s team, act like logic gates. In traditional, silicon computers, transistors cannot exploit this phenomenon and must use wires. In Friedman’s design, electrons moving through carbon nanotubes create a magnetic field that acts on the current in the graphene nanoribbon and enter logic gates that are not physically connected to each other.
Since communication between graphene nanoribbons occurs via an electromagnetic wave, rather than the physical movement of electrons, the clock frequency of such a device can be measured in THz. This is orders of magnitude higher than the frequency of modern processors, which is measured in GHz, which can significantly increase the performance of a carbon computer compared to silicon. In addition, carbon transistors are significantly smaller than silicon ones.
Professor Friedman’s immediate plans are to create a full-fledged prototype of a carbon spin computer, according to Phys.org.
The creation of a working transistor on carbon nanotubes was also reported by specialists from China back in January. However, for mass production, their method of growing nanotubes would not work, but it did quite work for proof of concept. The result is a very thin transistor, capable of carrying more current than a standard silicon transistor, using only half of the normal voltage.