Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


Home > Press > Computer chip technology advancing

Paul Swanson
Paul Swanson

The next generation of computer chips might be created in something not much more complex than a microwave oven and the technology is being developed right here at the U of A.

By Jon Grier, News Writer

Computer chip technology advancing

Alberta | Posted on November 18th, 2010

Jillian Buriak is a senior researcher at the National Institute for Nanotechnology. One of her group's projects could further revolutionize the production of computer chips.

After a short stint in the microwave, a silicon chip prepared using plastic polymers forms a pattern of lines or rings that is far more complex than what a conventional computer chip has. The lines formed from this reaction, only tens of nanometers apart from each other, act as a template for conductive material to be applied on.

"The polymer can be induced with a little bit of outside intervention. [Polymers] can say, 'Hey, I'm going to form these rings.' They can do it perfectly," Buriak said.

The outside intervention, a simple microwave oven, was the U of A group's big innovation. To make a computer chip template that complex, it can take up to three days by normal industry methods. The industry set a goal of cutting this down to four minutes; the group found that a microwave could do it in 20 seconds.

Ken Harris, a researcher working under Buriak, came up with the original idea for this inexpensive and unconventional method, along with other members of the team.

"The fact that [the rings] assemble — people have known that for quite a while now […] That, we didn't invent. But the technique for making that happen quickly is brand new."

Harris said the fact that there are even more lines than a conventional computer chips could have implications for electronics.

"The more devices you can pack onto a chip, the faster and more powerful that computer is. So a lot of that depends on how far [the lines] are separated."

The computer chip industry wants to find a way to produce chips with a high level of density as efficiently as possible. Since the scale is so small, the alignment of the pattern has to be perfect or else the chip becomes worthless. If it is possible to produce properly aligned chips with equipment as inexpensive as a household microwave, Buriak explained that it could have serious implications for the industry.

There are more applications for the process than mass-producing faster chips, according to Buriak. The relationship between the polymers that create the chip template is similar to how living cells recognize one another and form a larger entity. By treating these cells the same way, it may be possible to interface living cells with silicon the same way the plastic polymers work.


For more information, please click here

Copyright © University of Alberta

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.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

MIT mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale: New formula identifies limits to nanoscale heat transfer, may help optimize devices that convert heat to electricity November 25th, 2015

Physicists explain the unusual behavior of strongly disordered superconductors: Using a theory they developed previously, the scientists have linked superconducting carrier density with the quantum properties of a substance November 25th, 2015

Scientists 'see' detailed make-up of deadly toxin for the first time: Exciting advance provides hope for developing novel potential method of treating pneumococcal diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia November 25th, 2015

Production of Nanocapsules Containing Omega-3 Powder in Iran November 24th, 2015

Possible Futures

Nanocarriers may carry new hope for brain cancer therapy: Berkeley Lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier November 22nd, 2015

Quantum Spin Could Create Unstoppable, One-Dimensional Electron Waves: New theory points the way forward to transform atom-thin materials into powerful conductors November 18th, 2015

Pioneering research boosts graphene revolution November 17th, 2015

Rice makes light-driven nanosubmarines: Speedy single-molecule submersibles are a first November 16th, 2015


SUNY Poly Welcomes DPS as the Global Engineering Firm Opens Its U.S. Advanced Technology Group Headquarters at Cutting-Edge ZEN Building November 20th, 2015

Pioneering research boosts graphene revolution November 17th, 2015

University of Leeds Expands Structural Biology with Purchase of Multiple Titan Krios TEMs from FEI November 10th, 2015

Iran Signs MoU to Export Nanodevices to China November 9th, 2015

Chip Technology

Physicists explain the unusual behavior of strongly disordered superconductors: Using a theory they developed previously, the scientists have linked superconducting carrier density with the quantum properties of a substance November 25th, 2015

Nanomagnets: Creating order out of chaos: Dresden physicists engrave nanoscale magnets directly into layer of material November 23rd, 2015

Strange quantum phenomenon achieved at room temperature in semiconductor wafers November 21st, 2015

Stacking instead of mixing: Jülich-Aachen research team improves the energy efficiency of topological insulators November 21st, 2015


New Model Presented to Design, Produce Electronic Nanodevices November 6th, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Achieves 14nm FinFET Technology Success for Next-Generation AMD Products: Leading-edge foundry’s proven silicon technology poised to help enable significant performance and power efficiency improvements for AMD’s next-generation products November 6th, 2015

USF team finds new way of computing with interaction-dependent state change of nanomagnets: University of South Florida engineering researchers find nano-scale magnets could compute complex functions significantly faster than conventional computers October 29th, 2015

Nanoquakes probe new 2-dimensional material: Collaborative research between UC Riverside and the University of Augsburg, Germany, opens up new ways of understanding monolayer films for (opto-)electronic applications October 26th, 2015

The latest news from around the world, FREE

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

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

Car Brands
Buy website traffic