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Science Hardware Technology

Breakthrough May Revolutionize Microchip Patterning 62

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.'"
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Breakthrough May Revolutionize Microchip Patterning

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  • by ItsLenny ( 1132387 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:06PM (#20453737) Homepage
    how is it a breakthrough you say...

    Lets see...

    They've come up with a similar (faster/cheaper) means of making something. The entire point of the article is that this new method is far easier and faster then old methods. Not to mention the fact alone that it's utilizing mechanical force to etch a chip which is unheard of... besides this could be very practical. Think about it, most companies don't need an overpriced chip with 45nm spaced etchings... but being able to buy many cheaper chips with a 60nm gap would be a great.
  • Re:hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nikker ( 749551 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:44PM (#20455779)
    I don't think it is as important for FAB plants as much as it is bringing influence from the small consumer into hardware. If the cost comes down enough we can take old designs or open designs and actually be able to produce relatively small quantities of modified hardware for cheap.

    This would go hand in hand with the concept of OSS cause as OSS enthusiast's are intrigued by this kind of thing products like that completely OSS graphics board which never really took off would be much more attainable. With an interface like PCI-Express if the community would be able to design an 'open-board' concept, with multiple open sockets on the board its self, you would be able use the daughter board as an OSS motherboard and control it by use of an open interface.

    Picture a PCI-E board with one controller on board and a handful of open PGA sockets. A company or group develops a physics, encryption, sound, graphics, firewall chip that gets installed on the board and you could access each one for its resources via the PCI bus. Each chip would likely be more expensive then the closed proprietary brothers but the market is there. Lets say your business has a project that is naturally lopsided in terms of processing, you could fabricate a processor to even it out, or make a self sufficient board utilizing the PCI bridge for nothing more then access to memory and VCC.

    This would really be an eye opener as OSS could effect more then just the software market but the hardware market as well. You could have a board with optical, RJ45, DVI, DVB-S2 all on the same board and each socket could potentially have access to each port directly or via on board controller (similar to a north bridge) condensing a sound controller or a network controllers logic onto a 60nm process would be night and day compared to what we have, this could potentially lead the way to the entire machine being designed using this "sandwich" process.

    Personally I think development along the lines of the killerNic type of hardware would revolutionize computing. Imagine owning a machine with multiple optical outs that you could use for networking or to hookup to a TOS-link device, the card would have its own processor running customized microcode. Maybe as a temporary storage device similar to flash drives but internal running of a 16x slot would bring efficiency of any system up 100 fold. Eventually all these separate ideas would distill into an open command set that could be implemented into a CPU type of application. A CPU with instructions built-in from the best of encryption, graphics, sound, filtering hell even regex. We could even vote on which registers should be included in the final design.

    So you know one person out here thinks this is cool, maybe more will come of this.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.