Nanotubes are tiny cylinders of atoms that can be used for a wide variety of purposes because of their electrical or mechanical properties. Different properties and different forces apply at the nanoscale level when compared with macro or “real world” dimensions. These differences exhibit themselves in the form of high electrical conductivity, great mechanical strength and other properties. The main focus in electronics is on carbon nanotubes. These can be as small as 10 atoms in diameter. Different nanotubes can have insulating, conducting or semiconducting properties. Carbon nanotubes with semiconductor properties offer the promise of small transistors with high switching speeds. Carbon nanotubes with metallic (conducting) properties offer the promise of low electrical resistance that can be applied to the interconnections within integrated circuits. Other nanotube materials being evaluated include silicon and compound semiconductor materials.
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