Carbon Nanotube Interconnects
The performance and power dissipation of integrated circuits (IC) are largely affected by interconnects. Carbon nanotubes, which are rolls of one-atom-thick carbon sheets, show great potential in addressing some of the major interconnect challenges in future generations of technology, when copper conductivity will degrade substantially because of size effects. Some of the fascinating properties of carbon nanotubes include very large current conduction capacity, large electron mean free paths, high mechanical strength, and stability. In this article, the physical circuit models for carbon nanotubes are reviewed, and the potential performances of both single-wall carbon nanotube (SWNT) and multiwall carbon nanotube (MWNT) interconnects are benchmarked against their copper counterparts at a realistic operating temperature (100°C). The models capture various electron phonon scattering mechanisms and the dependency of quantum conductance on temperature and diameter. A hybrid system of copper/SWNTs/MWNTs offers the highest performance enhancement for interconnects.