Carbon based materials can transport signals better than metals at nanoscale sizes. Look for high-performance interconnection technologies to use two-dimensional nanoribbons called graphene to best metals in the next five years. R.C.J.
Pure carbon interconnects, cast as tiny ribbons of graphene, will outperform copper interconnects below 30 nanometer line widths, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). The researchers characterized graphene interconnection lines as small as 18 nanometers wide and found that they perform as well or better than even the most optimistic estimates of how copper interconnects will perform at those sizes. Unlike copper, whose resistivity goes up at these fine line sizes— due to scattering at grain boundaries and side walls—graphene's conductivity is enhanced by quantum effects at nanoscale sizes.