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This paper reviews the current state of research in carbon-based nanomaterials, particularly the one-dimensional (1-D) forms, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene nanoribbons (GNRs), whose promising electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties make them attractive candidates for next-generation integrated circuit (IC) applications. After summarizing the basic physics of these materials, the state of the art of their interconnect-related fabrication and modeling efforts is reviewed. Both electrical and thermal modeling and performance analysis for various CNT- and GNR-based interconnects are presented and compared with conventional interconnect materials to provide guidelines for their prospective applications. It is shown that single-walled, double-walled, and multiwalled CNTs can provide better performance than that of Cu. However, in order to make GNR interconnects comparable with Cu or CNT interconnects, both intercalation doping and high edge-specularity must be achieved. Thermal analysis of CNTs shows significant advantages in tall vias, indicating their promising application as through-silicon vias in 3-D ICs. In addition to on-chip interconnects, various applications exploiting the low-dimensional properties of these nanomaterials are discussed. These include chip-to-packaging interconnects as well as passive devices for future generations of IC technology. Specifically, the small form factor of CNTs and reduced skin effect in CNT interconnects have significant implications for the design of on-chip capacitors and inductors, respectively.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2009