In research findings published in Nature Nanotechnology, of Choi Hee-cheul and Kim Hyun-tak describe what they call the first semiconductor that has broken the 10 nm barrier. Carbon nanotube guided formation of silicon oxide nanotrenches is the name of the article.
Here we show that carbon nanotubes can act as the carbon source to reduce (etch) silicon dioxide surfaces. By introducing small amounts of oxygen gas during the growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process, the nanotubes selectively etch one-dimensional nanotrenches in the SiO2. The shape, length and trajectory of the nanotrenches are fully guided by the SWNTs. These nanotrenches can also serve as a mask in the fabrication of sub-10-nm metal nanowires. Combined with alignment techniques, well-ordered nanotrenches can be made for various high-density electronic components in the nanoelectronics industry.
Choi employed carbon nanotubes to successfully etch circuits that are thinner than 10 nanometers on the face of silicon wafers.
"As far as we know, we broke a 10-nanometer barrier for the first time in history. We could make a breakthroughs after finding surface chemical reactions of carbon nanotubes," Choi said.
Kim Hyun-tak at the state-run ETRI is working on a new substance dubbed a Mott insulator, which instantly changes from a conductive metal to an insulator.
Kim hopes the insulator, which he and his men created in 2004 after years of experiments, will break the technical stagnation in making semiconductors with circuits slimmer than 10 nanometers.
Samsung has 40 nanometer Flash and their process can get below 20 nm