Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > IBM Brings Nature to Computer Chip Manufacturing

 IBM Airgap Microprocessor -- This thumbnail-size IBM
chip was created by harnessing the natural forces
that make patterns including snowflakes and sea shells.
The self-assembly technology is being used to create
a vacuum between the miles of on-chip wiring. IBM
expects to begin manufacturing more powerful and
energy-efficient servers based on airgap-technology
microprocessors beginning in 2009.
IBM Airgap Microprocessor -- This thumbnail-size IBM chip was created by harnessing the natural forces that make patterns including snowflakes and sea shells. The self-assembly technology is being used to create a vacuum between the miles of on-chip wiring. IBM expects to begin manufacturing more powerful and energy-efficient servers based on airgap-technology microprocessors beginning in 2009.

Abstract:
First-Ever Manufacturing Application of "Self Assembly" Used to Create a Vacuum -- the Ultimate Insulator -- Around Nanowires for Next-Generation Microprocessors

IBM Brings Nature to Computer Chip Manufacturing

ARMONK, NY | Posted on May 2nd, 2007

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the first-ever application of a breakthrough self-assembling nanotechnology to conventional chip manufacturing, borrowing a process from nature to build the next generation computer chips.

The natural pattern-creating process that forms seashells, snowflakes, and enamel on teeth has been harnessed by IBM to form trillions of holes to create insulating vacuums around the miles of nano-scale wires packed next to each other inside each computer chip.

In chips running in IBM labs using the technique, the researchers have proven that the electrical signals on the chips can flow 35 percent faster, or the chips can consume 15 percent less energy compared to the most advanced chips using conventional techniques.

The IBM patented self-assembly process moves a nanotechnology manufacturing method that had shown promise in laboratories into a commercial manufacturing environment for the first time, providing the equivalent of two generations of Moore's Law wiring performance improvements in a single step, using conventional manufacturing techniques.

This new form of insulation, commonly referred to as "airgaps" by scientists, is a misnomer, as the gaps are actually a vacuum, absent of air. The technique deployed by IBM causes a vacuum to form between the copper wires on a computer chip, allowing electrical signals to flow faster, while consuming less electrical power. The self-assembly process enables the nano-scale patterning required to form the gaps; this patterning is considerably smaller than current lithographic techniques can achieve.

A vacuum is believed to be the ultimate insulator for what is known as wiring capacitance, which occurs when two conductors, in this case adjacent wires on a chip, sap or siphon electrical energy from one another, generating undesirable heat and slowing the speed at which data can move through a chip.

Until now, chip designers often were forced to fight capacitance issues by pushing ever more power through chips creating, in the process, a range of other problems. They have also used insulators with better insulating capability, but these insulators have become tenuously fragile as chip features get smaller and smaller, and their insulating properties do not compare to those of a vacuum.

The self-assembly process already has been integrated with IBM's state-of-the-art manufacturing line in East Fishkill, New York and is expected to be fully incorporated in IBM's manufacturing lines and used in chips in 2009. The chips will be used in IBM's server product lines and thereafter for chips IBM builds for other companies.

"This is the first time anyone has proven the ability to synthesize mass quantities of these self-assembled polymers and integrate them into an existing manufacturing process with great yield results," said Dan Edelstein, IBM Fellow and chief scientist of the self-assembly airgap project. "By moving self assembly from the lab to the fab, we are able to make chips that are smaller, faster and consume less power than existing materials and design architectures allow."

Edelstein led the IBM team that invented the technique to use copper wiring in computer chips instead of aluminum, now a standard method for producing chips, ushering in a decade of chip innovations from the IBM labs that transformed how chips were built and used across many industries and applications.

The Secret of Self Assembly

The secret of IBM's breakthrough lies in how the IBM scientists moved the self-assembly process from the laboratory to a production manufacturing environment in a way that can potentially yield millions of chips with consistent, high performance results.

Today, chips are manufactured with copper wiring surrounded by an insulator, which involves using a mask to create circuit patterns by beaming light through the mask and later chemically removing the parts that are not needed.

The new technique to make airgaps by self-assembly skips the masking and light-etching process. Instead IBM scientists discovered the right mix of compounds, which they pour onto a silicon wafer with the wired chip patterns, then bake it.

This patented process provides the right environment for the compounds to assemble in a directed manner, creating trillions of uniform, nano-scale holes across an entire 300-millimeter wafer. These holes are just 20 nanometers in diameter, up to five times smaller than would be possible using today's most advanced lithography technique.

Once the holes are formed, the carbon silicate glass is removed, creating a vacuum between the wires -- known as the airgap -- allowing the electrical signals to either flow 35 percent faster, or to consume 15 percent less energy.

Self assembly is a concept scientists have been studying at IBM and in labs around the world as a potential technique to create materials useful for building computer chips. The concept occurs in nature every day, it is how enamel is formed on our teeth, the process that creates seashells and is what transforms water into complex snowflakes. The major difference is, while the processes that occur in nature are all unique, IBM has been able to direct the self-assembly process to form trillions of holes that are all similar.

This new technology can be incorporated into any standard CMOS manufacturing line, without disruption or new tooling. The self assembly process was jointly invented between IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California and the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York. The technique was perfected for future commercial production at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany, within the world-class Albany NanoTech facilities, a research and development site in Albany, New York with strong ties to IBM, and at IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center in East Fishkill, N.Y.

####

About IBM
Note to Editors: Broadcast-quality video on airgap can be downloaded by journalists at http://www.thenewsmarket.com/ibm. Photos and related materials are available in the IBM Press Room at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/21463.wss.

For further information about IBM Microelectronics, visit http://www.ibm.com/chips/

For more information about IBM Research, visit http://www.ibm.com/research

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Bruce McConnel
IBM Media Relations
914-766-4427 (o)
203-739-5462 (m)

Copyright © Market Wire

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Chip Technology

Gigantic ultrafast spin currents: Scientists from TU Wien (Vienna) are proposing a new method for creating extremely strong spin currents. They are essential for spintronics, a technology that could replace today's electronics May 25th, 2016

Diamonds closer to becoming ideal semiconductors: Researchers find new method for doping single crystals of diamond May 25th, 2016

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Self Assembly

Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle May 1st, 2016

Researchers create artificial protein to control assembly of buckyballs April 27th, 2016

Brookhaven's Oleg Gang Named a Battelle 'Inventor of the Year': Recognized for work using DNA to guide and regulate the self-assembly of nanoparticles into clusters and arrays with controllable properties April 25th, 2016

Researchers develop new semiconducting polymer for forthcoming flexible electronics April 21st, 2016

Nanoelectronics

Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene: Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices May 20th, 2016

Graphene: A quantum of current - When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene May 20th, 2016

New type of graphene-based transistor will increase the clock speed of processors: Scientists have developed a new type of graphene-based transistor and using modeling they have demonstrated that it has ultralow power consumption compared with other similar transistor devices May 19th, 2016

Self-healing, flexible electronic material restores functions after many breaks May 17th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists illuminate a hidden regulator in gene transcription: New super-resolution technique visualizes important role of short-lived enzyme clusters May 27th, 2016

Doubling down on Schrödinger's cat May 27th, 2016

Finding a new formula for concrete: Researchers look to bones and shells as blueprints for stronger, more durable concrete May 26th, 2016

Deep Space Industries and SFL selected to provide satellites for HawkEye 360’s Pathfinder mission: The privately-funded space-based global wireless signal monitoring system will be developed by Deep Space Industries and UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory May 26th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic