It's not the smallest transistor
out there, but the boffins at IBM have constructed the tiniest carbon nanotube transistor to date. It's nine nanometers in size, making it one nanometer smaller than the presumed physical limit of silicon transistors. Plus, it consumes less power and is able to carry more current than present-day technology. The researchers accomplished the trick by laying a nanotube on a thin layer of insulation, and using a two-step process -- involving some sort of black magic, no doubt -- to add the electrical gates inside. The catch? (There's always a catch) Manufacturing pure batches of semiconducting nanotubes is difficult, as is aligning them in such a way that the transistors can function. So, it'll be some time before the technology can compete with Intel's 3D silicon
, but at least we're one step closer to carbon-based computing.