Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.
There is much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios.
A carbon nanotube field-effect transistor (CNTFET) refers to a field-effect transistor that utilizes a single carbon nanotube or an array of carbon nanotubes as the channel material instead of bulk silicon in the traditional MOSFET structure. First demonstrated in 1998, there have been major developments in CNTFETs.
The exceptional electrical properties of carbon nanotubes arise from the unique electronic structure of graphene itself that can roll up and form a hollow cylinder. A carbon nanotube’s bandgap is directly affected by its chirality and diameter. If those properties can be controlled, CNTs would be a promising candidate for future nano-scale transistor devices. Moreover, because of the lack of boundaries in the perfect and hollow cylinder structure of CNTs, there is no boundary scattering. CNTs are also quasi-1D materials in which only forward scattering and back scattering are allowed, and elastic scattering mean free paths in carbon nanotubes are long, typically on the order of micrometers. As a result, quasi-ballistic transport can be observed in nanotubes at relatively long lengths and low fields. Because of the strong covalent carbon-carbon bonding in the sp2 configuration, carbon nanotubes are chemically inert and are able to transport large amounts of electric current. In theory, carbon nanotubes are also able to conduct heat nearly as well as diamond or sapphire, and because of their miniaturized dimensions, the CNTFET should switch reliably using much less power than a silicon-based device.