Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > UMD Advance Lights Possible Path to Creating Next Gen Computer Chips

Abstract:
University of Maryland researchers have made a breakthrough in the use of visible light for making tiny integrated circuits. Though their advance is probably at least a decade from commercial use, they say it could one day make it possible for companies like Intel to continue their decades long tread of making ever smaller, faster, and cheaper computer chips.

UMD Advance Lights Possible Path to Creating Next Gen Computer Chips

College Park, MD | Posted on February 4th, 2011

For some 50 years, the integrated circuits, or chips, that are at the heart of computers, smart phones, and other high-tech devices have been created through a technique known as photolithography, in which each computer chip is built up in layers.

In photolithography, each layer of a conductive material (metal, treated silicon, etc,) is deposited on a chip and coated with a chemical that hardens when exposed to light. Light shining through a kind of stencil know as a mask projects a detailed pattern onto the photoresist, which hardens where it's exposed. Then, the unhardened areas of photoresist and underlying metal are etched away with a chemical. Finally, the remaining photoresist is etched away using a different chemical treatment, leaving an underlying layer of metal with the same shape as the mask.

However, fitting more and more circuits on each chip has meant making smaller and smaller circuits. In fact, features of circuits in today's computer chips are significantly smaller than the wavelength of visible light. As a result, manufacturers have gone to using shorter and shorter wavelengths of light (radiation), or even charged particles, to enable them to make these circuits.

University of Maryland chemistry Professor John Fourkas and his research group recently introduced a technique called RAPID lithography that makes it possible to use visible light to attain lithographic resolution comparable to (and potentially even better than) that obtained with shorter wave length radiation.

"Our RAPID technique could offer substantial savings in cost and ease of production," Fourkas said. "Visible light is far less expensive to generate, propagate and manipulate than shorter wavelength forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as vacuum ultraviolet or X-rays. And using visible light would not require the use of the high vacuum conditions needed for current short wavelength technologies."

The key to RAPID is the use of a special "photoinitiator" that can be excited, or turned on, by one laser beam and deactivated by another. In new work just published online by Nature Chemistry, Fourkas and his group report three broad classes of common dye molecules that can be used for RAPID lithography.

In earlier work, Fourkas and his team used a beam of ultrafast pulses for the excitation step and a continuous laser for deactivation. However, they say that in some of their newly reported materials deactivation is so efficient that the ultrafast pulses of the excitation beam also deactivate molecules. This phenomenon leads to the surprising result that higher exposures can lead to smaller features, leading to what the researchers call a proportional velocity (PROVE) dependence.

"PROVE behavior is a simple way to identify photoinitiators that can be deactivated efficiently," says Fourkas, "which is an important step towards being able to use RAPID in an industrial setting."

By combining a PROVE photoinitiator with a photoinitiator that has a conventional exposure dependence, Fourkas and co-workers were also able to demonstrate a photoresist for which the resolution was independent of the exposure over a broad range of exposure times.

"Imagine a photographic film that always gives the right exposure no matter what shutter speed is used," says Fourkas. "You could take perfect pictures every time. By the same token, these new photoresists are extremely fault-tolerant, allowing us to create the exact lithographic pattern we want time after time."

According to Fourkas, he and his team have more research to do before thinking about trying to commercialize their new RAPID technology. "Right now we're using the technique for point-by-point lithography. We need to get it to the stage where we can operate on an entire silicon wafer, which will require more advances in chemistry, materials and optics. If we can make these advances -- and we're working hard on it -- then we will think about commercialization."

Another factor in time to application, he explained, is that his team's approach is not a R&D direction that chip manufacturers had been looking at before now. As a result, commercial use of the RAPID approach is probably at least ten years down the road, he said.

Multiphoton photoresists giving nanoscale resolution that is inversely dependent on exposure time was authored by Michael P. Stocker, Linjie Li, Ravael R. Gattass and John T. Fourkas.

The authors acknowledge the support of the Maryland NanoCenter and its NispLab. The NispLab is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) Shared Experimental Facility. This work was supported in part by the UMD-NSF-MRSEC.

To learn more about research in the Fourkas laboratories, visit www2.chem.umd.edu/groups/fourkas

####

Contacts:
Lee Tune
301 405 4679

Copyright © University of Maryland

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

News and information

Iranian Researchers Synthesize Stable Ceramic Nanopowders at Room Temperature September 20th, 2014

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Scientists refine formula for nanotube types: Rice University theorists determine factors that give tubes their chiral angles September 17th, 2014

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Academic/Education

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Malvern technology delivers Malvern reliability in multi-disciplinary lab at Queen Mary University London September 9th, 2014

State University of New York Trustees Unanimously Approve SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) as New Name for Merged SUNY CNSE / SUNYIT September 9th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Chip Technology

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

Nanoelectronics

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Excitonic Dark States Shed Light on TMDC Atomic Layers: Berkeley Lab Discovery Holds Promise for Nanoelectronic and Photonic Applications September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Discoveries

Iranian Scientists Separate Zinc Ion at Low Concentrations September 20th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Synthesize Stable Ceramic Nanopowders at Room Temperature September 20th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

Announcements

Iranian Scientists Separate Zinc Ion at Low Concentrations September 20th, 2014

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE