For many decades, advances in electronics have been driven by a scaling of silicon transistors. As this scaling becomes ever more challenging but with diminishing returns, however, researchers are searching for materials that could enable technologies beyond silicon. Carbon nanotubes are one such candidate material, offering the potential for devices that are much more energy-efficient. However, variability in their properties has severely limited the size and complexity of electronic systems based on carbon nanotubes. Max Shulaker and colleagues now overcome these variations to demonstrate a 16-bit microprocessor built from over 14,000 carbon nanotube transistors. The microprocessor was designed and fabricated using industry-standard design flows and processes.
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