Carbon will succeed silicon as the predominate semiconducting material for the integrated circuits of the future. Today printable nanotube inks are enabling flexible carbon transistors that outperform organic transistors by 10-times, with standard chip technology switching to carbon as the base material within 10 years. R.C.J.
Carbon--the basis of all organic compounds--appears destined to supplant silicon as the material of choice for future semiconductors. Carbon nanotubes, graphene and diamond films based on carbon--which sits just above silicon on the Periodic Table--can surpass silicon's abilities in thermal performance, frequency range and perhaps even superconductivity. Three-dimensional carbon--diamond--offers 10 times the heat dissipation of silicon, according to suppliers currently hawking 40-nanometer to 15-micron diamond films on silicon wafers. Two-dimensional carbon--3-angstrom-thick monolayers called graphene--could dismantle silicon's roadblock to terahertz performance by attaining 10 times the electron mobility of silicon.