Researches Develop 3D ‘Skycraper’ Carbon Nanotube Chip That Could Boost Computers By 1000
Several researchers from Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley teamed up together to come up with a new design for a 3D processer that is based on carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs).
These ‘skyscraper chips’ would greatly boost the efficiency and performance of computers by up to 1000 times, according to the reports.
The design of the chip has been developed under a project called Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology, or N3XT. According to the research, the design relies on stacking microprocessor components instead of laying them out in a flat arrangement, hence the term ‘3D skyscraper.’
Stacked chips aren’t exactly a new concept – the idea has been lingering around for a long time, but the manufacturing process requires nearly 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit of heating. Such high temperatures make it difficult to create a stack without damaging the different layers.
However, the N3XT research utilizes CNTs instead of conventional silicon transistors. The small cylindrical carbon molecules are able to transfer electricity and heat highly efficiently, and require much lower temperatures to fabricate.
The proposed architecture sandwiches different layers of memory between processors. Using low-temperature fabrication on non-silicon technologies to create these allows for shifting data at higher speed, using millions of ‘vias’ that play the role of ‘small electronic elevators.’
This approach allows crunching complex data sets in little time, and could lead to addressing a variety of problems, such as cancer research and cryptography. Not only is the approach faster, it also requires less energy, therefore boosting the efficiency of the chips.
“When you combine higher speed with lower energy use, N3XT systems outperform conventional approaches by a factor of a thousand,” states Professor Philip Wong, who authored the research paper.
The team has admitted that adopting this technology would require big investments, but claim that payoffs would be huge, and could ultimately overcome this massive shift from silicon processors to the N3XT technology.