Engineers build computer of one-atom-thick carbon tubes
PARIS (AFP) - American engineers said on Wednesday they had built the first computer made entirely of microscopic carbon "nanotubes" - a big step in the quest for faster, ever-smaller electronic devices.
While performing only basic functions at speeds likened to a 1950s computer, the tiny machine was hailed as a breakthrough in the search for an alternative to silicon transistors, which control the electricity flow in computer microchips.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are rolled-up, single-layer sheets of carbon atoms - tens of thousands can fit into the width of a single human hair.
They are pliable and have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any known material. Silicon is a good semiconductor but cannot be reduced to such a thin layer.