Vacuum Tubes. They’re Back.

Vacuum Tubes. They're Back.

Remember vacuum tubes? Your grandpa will. Those glowing glass cylinders powered the Golden Age of Radio and made Fender guitar amps scream.There were great big picture tubes right smack in the front of old TV sets, too. Well, tubes are coming back, but they’re smaller.

Much, much smaller. The prototype vacuum channel transistor is 150 nanometers long.  A nanometer is 1 millionth of a millimeter; there are 25,400,000 nanometers to the inch. Why make these tiny tubes? electrons travel faster in a vacuum, and tubes resist interference from outside radiation better than semiconductors.


“Return of the vacuum tube – on the nanoscale,” Nanowerk


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Image (“Our Analog Heritage”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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3 Responses to “Vacuum Tubes. They’re Back.”

  1. HL Says:

    Do you think there will be tiny little tube testers at Walgreens?

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Shown actual size –

    Test-O-Matic Nonotube Tester

    UK version —

    Mullard nanovalve tester

  3. Mike Licht Says:


    “Return of the Vacuum Tube,” Jon Cartwright, Science NOW

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