What is carbon nanotube computer? - Definition from WhatIs.com


carbon nanotube computer

Part of the Nanotechnology glossary:

A carbon nanotube computer is one with a processor that uses carbon nanotubes as its semiconductor material.

The standard semiconductor for processors is silicon, which is expected to eventually reach its functional limits for applications that require increasingly small devices. Carbon nanotubes have often been thought to be an ideal successor to silicon for processor fabrication. The material can replace silicon wafers in manufacturing while retaining existing fabrication infrastructure. Carbon nanotubes could improve on silicon's performance through the material’s superior heat dissipation and a theoretical order of magnitude increase in electrical efficiency.

A carbon nanotube computer could, in theory, be faster and smaller. However, the material is challenging to work with. For example, carbon nanotubes are made on a quartz substrate and can grow erratically, with some tubes conducting electricity like a metal.

On September 27, 2013, researchers at Stanford University announced the world’s first carbon nanotube-based computer: a one-bit 178-transistor proof-of-concept processor. The prototype computer operates at 5 volts and is not very power-efficient. Nevertheless, given time, it can perform any calculation.

Announcing the first carbon nanotube computer:

This was last updated in October 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • saser (sound amplification by stimulated emission of radiation)

    - The SASER is the sonic equivalent to the laser and is often referred to as a sound laser or acoustic laser. SASERs beam concentrated sound waves in the terahertz range. (WhatIs.com)

  • robotics

    - Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. (WhatIs.com)

  • quantum theory

    - Quantum theory is the theoretical basis of modern physics explaining the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level, sometimes called quantum mechanics or quantum ph... (WhatIs.com)


  • Nanotechnology

    - Terms related to nanotechnology, including manufacturing definitions and words and phrases about building machines at a molecular level.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About carbon nanotube computerPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.