Japanese researchers have investigated a new technique through which the self-interconnection of nanostructures could lead to nanoscale logic circuits. Carbon nanotubes are self-assembled nanoscale structures with excellent mechanical, electrical and chemical properties, and are useful for a variety of applications. Semiconducting carbon nanotubes can act as a field-effect transistor or a single electron transistor for nanoelectronics. Metallic carbon nanotubes exhibit ballistic conductivity (electrons travel through without losing energy) at room temperature. This, coupled with the mechanical strength of carbon nanotubes, as well as their shape and size, makes them ideal for wiring nanoscale devices.

Employing the chemical vapour deposition technique, the Japanese team has grown nanotube networks on arrays of 100 nm high silicon pillars, confirming an earlier observation using 10 mm pillars. This self-directed growth is a remarkable feature of carbon nanotubes; however, the growth mechanism is not yet fully understood. Further investigation is needed before carbon nanotubes find their way onto our desktops.

Further reading

Y Homma et al. 2002 Appl. Phys. Lett. 81 2261-2263.