Next Generation Transistors: Where Do Carbon Nanotubes Fit In?

March 10, 2014
Location: CEPSR 414
Speaker: Dr. Aaron D. Franklin, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are among the most researched materials in the world. One of the foremost potential applications for CNTs is as the channel for next-generation transistors. While some of the CNT transistor research community gave way to the rise of another carbon allotrope - graphene - in the mid-2000s, progress in the CNT field did not stop. In fact, in recent years the benefits of CNTs for future transistors have become more evident and accessible. It is important to note that the next generation of transistors will come in a variety of styles. Most prominently, there is the transistor that may replace silicon in the high-performance computing market. With the looming impossibility of further miniaturizing silicon transistors (regardless of the structure--fin, nanowire, etc.), the tiny 1 nm diameter 1-D CNT provides a very promising alternative to overcome power constraints for continued transistor scaling. Yet, is replacing silicon still realistic? Are the projected benefits of a high-performance CNT transistor technology worth the tremendous overhead cost? While definitive answers to these questions may be elusive, I will present recent results that must be taken into consideration. Finally, aside from high-performance computing, I will discuss some of the other next-generation transistor (and other nanoelectronic) applications that CNTs may be more suited, even uniquely poised, to facilitate. These include the rapidly emerging field of thin-film transistors (TFTs), which drive products from high definition displays on smart phones and big screens to flexible displays with transparent electronics. Also impactful is the emerging area of printed electronics, for which CNTs are of increasing interest for their solubility in various mediums while maintaining superb transport properties. Overall, this talk should provide a reasonable overview of the CNT transistor field - where it has been, where it may go, and why more people should be along for the ride.

Speaker Bio

Aaron D. FranklinAaron D. FranklinAaron Franklin received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2008 and his B.S.E. degree from Arizona State University in 2004, both in electrical engineering. Since 2009, he has been a Research Staff Member at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center working in the area of low-dimensional nanoelectronics. His research focuses on the integration of nanomaterials into electronic devices, including high-performance transistors, thin-film transistors, supercapacitors, and photovoltaic cells. His Ph.D. research at Purdue was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Since Fall 2013, Aaron has developed and taught graduate courses as an adjunct in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. In the fields of nanomaterials and nanoelectronics, Aaron has 39 peer-reviewed journal publications and 22 patents (5 issued so far). Before beginning his graduate studies, Aaron worked as a Component Design Engineer for Intel Corporation.

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