Integrated Carbon Nanotubes in Semiconductor Construction that Reduce Resistance and Maximize Output

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Andrew Rinzler
Stephen J. Pearton
Managed By
Richard Croley
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent 8,168,965

Carbon Nanotubes Offer Enhanced Semiconducting Properties in Discrete, Integrated, or MEMS Devices

These electronic or optoelectronic semiconductor devices include nanotube contact layers that reduce contact resistance and maximize output. Semiconductors are found in virtually all digital devices and provide the basis for modern day electronics. Electrical conductivity between different materials is determined by their relative physical and chemical properties as well as the resistance levels of the n- and p-type semiconductors. The use of carbon nanotubes in semiconductors has gained recent attention due to their unique electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties. The nanotube components allow semiconductors to be combined with devices of higher voltage specificities that traditional silicon-based semiconductors cannot. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed semiconductor devices that take advantage of integrated carbon nanotube technology that have properties well suited for use as an intermediary layer possessing substantial advantages for electrically coupling metals to semiconductors. The semiconductor comprising device can be a discrete device, part of an integrated device, or can include mechanical components on chip.


A semiconductor construction that includes a thin carbon nanotube layer, offering enhanced semiconducting properties


  • Reduces electrical contact resistance, improving electrical charge transfers between semiconductor layers using single wall nanotubes
  • The nanotubes do not suffer from the problem of electro-migration in high density configurations, increasing the reliability of semiconductors and transistors components in chips
  • Can be substantially optically transparent, maximizing visible light range
  • Offers significant temperature stability, maintaining high compatibility with conventional integrated circuit processing


Advancement in quicker and smaller electronic devices often relies on reducing the size of a silicon transistor to maximize the number of transistors to be put on a chip. However, as the traditional silicon semiconductors reduce in size, they also begin to waste more power as heat. Carbon nanotubes effectively solve this problem by allowing more energy-efficient semiconductors at smaller sizes due to their distinctive electrical and mechanical properties. The carbon nanotubes can be in a single wall or multiple wall configurations; single wall nanotubes are preferred because they are more easily chemically altered in the doping process (introduction of impurities to control electrical properties). The single wall nanotubes layers are generally 1 um or smaller, and when less than 200nm thick, they are substantially optically transparent. The carbon atoms comprising the nanotubes walls are tightly bound, effectively eliminating electro-migration, which would otherwise deteriorate the reliability of semiconductor or transistor.