Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Hardware Technology

Breakthrough May Revolutionize Microchip Patterning 62

Posted by Zonk
from the grow-your-own-chips dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "US research engineers claim to have developed a low-cost technique that allows them to create ultra-small grooves on microchips as easily as 'making a sandwich'. The simple, low-cost technique results in the self-formation of periodic lines, or gratings, separated by as little as 60nm, or less than one ten-thousandth of a millimetre. From the article: 'The new 'fracture-induced structuring' process starts when a thin polymer film is painted onto a rigid plate, such as a silicon wafer. A second plate is then placed on top, creating a polymer 'sandwich' that is heated to ensure adhesion. Finally, the two plates are prised apart. As the film fractures, it automatically breaks into two complementary sets of nanoscale gratings, one on each plate. The distance between the lines, called the period, is four times the film thickness.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Breakthrough May Revolutionize Microchip Patterning

Comments Filter:
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Icarus1919 (802533) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:09PM (#20452487)
    Generally I throw my sandwiches away when they get a film on them.
    • Are you meant to do that? If so it might explain this horrendous stomach pains I've been having.
  • If they got clever, they could make a conductive film and get tracks at one times the films thickness ;)
    As it stands I will only be impressed if they get fractures down to at least 2 times thickness.
  • Nice. (Score:3, Funny)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:13PM (#20452529) Journal
    The chips are groovy. Very groovy.
  • by smallfries (601545) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:13PM (#20452531) Homepage

    "It is like magic," said electrical engineer Stephen Chou, the Joseph C. Elgin Professor of Engineering at Princeton.

    Must be a sufficiently advanced technology then...
  • A low cost replacement for current lithographic techniques at 60nm could certainly have a market niche.

    But from what I understand of the article, this technique only creates a pattern of parallel stripes, with the spacing controlled by the film thickness. Presumably the direction is cotrolled by which edge you pry apart from. I don't see how that is useful for layout out a chip though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I could think of a couple of things. a CCD for cameras or a 'rail' area for moving data around. Also if you could get it going in different directions you could 'build' up different structures such as gates and sinks. You could also 'fill' in areas that are not useful or 'short' across other areas with another layer. Dont be like Kahn and think 2d be like Kirk think 3d...
  • Silicon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_kanzure (1100087) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:19PM (#20452583) Homepage
    Here's my notes on silicon semiconductor manufacturing [heybryan.org], but this 'polymer sandwhich' method is entirely new to me. From what I can recall, manufacturing tactics usually include chemical etching with masks to make marks into the wafer or sometimes with specialized lasers. From the summary of the article, it looks like this latest process lets us do periodic lines via adding mechanical energy so that we fracture the plates. Ironic, since we usually try to avoid fracturing our wafers. ;)
    • by bar-agent (698856)
      Ironic, since we usually try to avoid fracturing our wafers.

      Is it just me, or does that sound kinda dirty?

      God, I hope it's not just me...
  • I always love when summaries on /. have useless unit conversions to somehow make them more tangible.

    I think people here can handle 60nm.
    • I always love when summaries on /. have useless unit conversions to somehow make them more tangible.

      Indeed, everybody knows that the standard unit for small distances in science news reporting is (human hair width)^-1. Why they didn't use this standard unit escapes me.

      • by Hal-9001 (43188)

        Indeed, everybody knows that the standard unit for small distances in science news reporting is (human hair width)^-1. Why they didn't use this standard unit escapes me.
        Your standard unit of distance has units of inverse distance. You might want to fix that. :-p
    • by fractoid (1076465)
      So that Slashdot regulars can appropriately visualise the distances involved: 60nm = 2.98258172 × 10-10 furlongs.
  • 60 nm features? (Score:2, Informative)

    by chillax137 (612431)
    So this method is interesting, but the resolution of these gratings is only 60nm. Other experimental groups have achieved a resolution as small as 30nm ( http://willson.cm.utexas.edu/research/index.php [utexas.edu]). ..and Intel is already producing chips at 45 (http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08 /20/1611202/ [slashdot.org])
    • Actually, no.

      Intel is producing chips at 45 microns.
      That is 45,000nm.

      So making lines at 60nm, is a BIG DEAL.
      • by ItsLenny (1132387)

        Actually, no.

        Intel is producing chips at 45 microns. That is 45,000nm.

        So making lines at 60nm, is a BIG DEAL.


        ACTUALLY no...

        they are 45nm... research before u post...

        on this site [slashdot.org] AND on their site [intel.com]
    • I suspect that it would cost a bit more for Intel to produce 60nm gratings using their 45nm process than using this "low tech" approach.
    • Intel isn't doing it inexpensively. This is supposed to be a dirt-cheap way to get to 60nm.

      How many chips are in your home? How many of them are general purpose CPUs? Your video card, unless it's really recent, is almost surely not down to 60nm. Your drive electronics, Ethernet controllers, PDA CPU, cable/DSL terminal, router, firewall, car, coffee pot, TV tuner, DVD player, digital camera (except maybe the image sensor), appliance timers, remote control, home theater receiver, and pocket calculator are not
  • The linked article has a picture of a breadboard covered in neat rows of ancient DIP chips (probably ALUs or memory). Then talks about a cool new technique for getting a 60nm grid on next-gen CPUs.

    Why do they bother wasting bandwidth with such a useless stock picture? "Well, this involves microchips... Those look like microchips, I guess, so let's stick it in the article".

  • I have no arms, you insensitive clod!

    Rob
  • The trouble with technological breakthroughs is that they mostly benefit countries which place zero emphasis on such development but 100% emphasis on the pirating and subsequent marketing of such technology.
    • Piracy is a valid economic warfare tactic. Countries steal/spy/etc from one another for economic advantage and diplomatic leverage, should we be surprised? After all market capitalism emphasizes competition, no one said it had to be *fair*.
      • by Asterra (1087671)
        So we're talking about defining the boundary between reprehensibility and hostility, then? Personally, I would hesitate to suggest that it is valid for any country to profit in a worldwide economy using technology they have acquired and utilized without permission. But perhaps you would be fine even with the recent revelations of Pentagon hacking. Perhaps that also is "valid". To others, it's an act of war. Ymmv.
        • Capitalism is a form of social warfare, it's not always 'conscious' most of us simply absorb the behaviour and values of our time unknowingly contributing to overall bad things happening in the world. You also have people who have insane amounts of capital vs people who can't even afford to live in the same country. You have people commit suicide for economic related reasons (stress, etc), when there is more then enough money to go around in many instances. But access to that money is a matter of culture
  • by DumbSwede (521261)
    I doubt CPUs will have much competition from this technology, but how about memory based on some kind of crossbar design? Make one sheet vertical one sheet horizontal bond together with some exotic ingredient and voilà -- a high density ROM material. HD movies on a postage stamp.
  • thats good but what does it allow/do?
  • I wonder if you pulled a disc-shaped sandwich apart from the center real fast would you get concentric circles like a fresnel lens.. if so then by varying the film thikness you could vary the wavelength of focused energy?

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

Working...