GE Develops Tiny Nanotube Diode for Faster Electronics

July 06, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Researchers at GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of General Electric Co. (Fairfield, CT) have developed what they claim is the world’s best-performing carbon nanotube diode and one of the smallest functioning devices ever made. Unlike traditional diodes, GE’s carbon nanotube device has the ability for multiple functions, as a diode and as two different types of transistors, which should enable it to both emit and detect light.

The carbon nanotube diode was developed by Ji-Ung Lee, a scientist in the Nanotechnology Advanced Technology Program at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. More research is under way to enhance the carbon nanotube diode and increase the yield in the manufacturing process, but GE believe this breakthrough could allow a range of important new applications in computing, communications, power electronics and sensors. Specifically, GE anticipates the device could be the heart of next-generation sensors for applications such as security systems for airports, office buildings and other public areas to detect potential terrorist threats from chemical and biological hazards.