A fully working carbon nanotube transistor processor introduced
Sep 04, 2019 | 13:40 / Interesting information
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The first fully operational carbon nanotube transistor processor uttered its first words, which were “Hello, World!” An article about the work is published in the latest issue of Nature. Apparently, we are talking about development, the first message about which was made a month ago at one of the planned events under the auspices of the DARPA agency.

Recall, a SkyWater startup, together with Analog Devices, is developing a technology for manufacturing multilayer microcircuits based on carbon nanotube transistors. At a DARPA conference in mid-June, SkyWater CEO and MIT employee Max Shulaker showed the first silicon wafer with carbon nanotube processors. An article in Nature seems to shed light on this development.

The use of new materials for the production of chips is necessary for the simple reason that semiconductors have exhausted themselves from the point of view of further lowering the norms of the technological process. It was so easy! Reduce the size of the element on the chip, and everything else - performance and consumption - will follow. Alas, after lowering the resolution to a few nanometers, further progress became impossible. At least for a reasonable price.

Based on transistors on carbon nanotubes, the Max Schulaker group, using the open RISC-V instruction set, created a 32-bit processor with 16-bit memory addressing. The processor contains over 14,000 transistors, each of which is fully operational, which is confirmed by testing the program with the output of the phrase “Hello, world! I am RV16XNano, made from CNTs. ” Transistors are grouped into inverters, and the rest of the necessary logic is built from inverters. The processor fulfills the usual 32-bit RISC-V instructions without any modifications. 

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