Intel is looking to carbon nanotubes to replace the copper interconnects currently used in computer chips, and has created some prototypes. According to CNET News, Intelis prototype chips are being used to test the electrical performance of carbon nanotubes in a computer chip environment.
Copper is the material of choice to connect the ultra-small transistors in chips today. The problem is that as components shrink even smaller, the copper will start acting like a resistor instead of a conductor. The hope is that carbon nanotubes will effectively manage the electrical pathways in future chips, allowing for smaller component sizes that can be achieved with copper.
Intelis director of component research, Mike Mayberry, will be speaking about the companyis research at the International Symposium for the American Vacuum Society next week in San Francisco. The technology he will be discussing was co-developed with California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Portland State University.