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All carbon computing system concept developed

A researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas has designed a computing system made solely from carbon and says the approach might one day replace silicon transistors.

“The concept brings together an assortment of existing nanoscale technologies and combines them in a new way,” said Dr Joseph Friedman, pictured.

The all-carbon spin logic computing system could be made smaller than silicon transistors with increased performance. Dr Friedman’s all-carbon spintronic switch functions as a logic gate that relies on the fact that an electric current moving through a wire creates a magnetic field. Similarly, a magnetic field near a graphene nanoribbon affects the current flowing through the ribbon. Traditional silicon based transistors cannot exploit this phenomenon; instead, they are connected wires.

In Dr Friedman’s spintronic circuit design, electrons moving through carbon nanotubes create a magnetic field that affects the flow of current in a nearby graphene nanoribbon, providing cascaded logic gates that are not connected physically.

Because communication takes place via an electromagnetic waves, Dr Friedman expects that communication will be much faster – with the potential for terahertz clock speeds. In addition, carbon materials can be made smaller than silicon-based transistors.

Graham Pitcher

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