Nano technology to make computers smaller and faster
A team at California University has created a way to make square, nanoscale, chemical patterns that may be used in the manufacture of integrated circuit chips "as early as 2011" -- it is called block co-polymer lithography.
They have also built a process for creating features on silicon wafers between five and 20 nanometres thick.
"For the future we need more powerful microprocessors that use less energy. And, if you can shrink all these things down, you get both. You get power and energy efficiency in one package.
"We've come up with this new blending approach, called block co-polymer lithography, or BCP. It essentially relies on a natural self-assembly process.
"Just like proteins in the body, these molecules come together and self assemble into a pattern. And so we use that pattern as our lithographic tool, to make patterns on the silicon wafer.
"Using this technique, the size of the features is about the same as that of the molecules. They are very small, between five and 20 nanometres," Craig Hawker, who led the team, said.
According to the scientists, the new technology is designed to be compatible with current manufacturing methods, giving it the potential to be a "slip-in" technology, the 'ScienceDaily' reported.
"All the big microprocessor companies like Intel and IBM have invested billions of dollars in their fabrication plants. They're not going to throw out that technology anytime soon. It is too big of an investment and would not make good business sense.
"This allows them to introduce a new technology using current tools in the same fabrication plants. So they don't have to make huge up front investments to bring this to manufacturing. That's a key feature," Hawker said.
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