Working Nanotubes Out With A Pencil

Graphene is a one atom thick piece of carbon, and its very efficient conductive properties and nano-scale size would make it really useful as a replacement for copper connections on computer chips. The graphite in your pencil is made of lots and lots of graphene. The trick has been to make it in the one atom thickness.  Saroj Nayak and other researchers at Rensselaer Institute have now done the research to show that the process of making graphene nanostructures is at least feasible.
The size of computer chips has shrunk dramatically over the past decade, but has recently hit a bottleneck, Nayak said. As copper interconnects get smaller, the copper’s resistance increases and its ability to conduct electricity degrades. This means fewer electrons are able to pass through the copper successfully, and any lingering electrons are expressed as heat. This heat can have negative effects on both a computer chip’s speed and performance.

Researchers in both industry and academia are looking for alternative materials to replace copper as interconnects. Graphene could be a possible successor to copper, Nayak said, because of metallic graphene’s excellent conductivity. Even at room temperature, electrons pass effortlessly, near the speed of light and with little resistance, through metallic graphene. This would almost ensure a graphene interconnect would stay much cooler than a copper interconnect of the same size.
Sounds great, if preliminary. Can I get rid of the cooling fan that sounds like a plane taking off anytime soon? That would be swell.