Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles Give Antibacterial Properties to Machine-Woven Carpets August 4th, 2015

Promising Step Taken in Iran towards Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury August 3rd, 2015

Diagnosis of Salmonella Bacterium-Caused Food Poisoning by Biosensors August 3rd, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips August 3rd, 2015

Vaccine with virus-like nanoparticles effective treatment for RSV, study finds August 3rd, 2015

MIPT researchers clear the way for fast plasmonic chips August 3rd, 2015

Nanoparticles used to breach mucus barrier in lungs: Proof-of-concept study conducted in mice a key step toward better treatments for lung diseases August 3rd, 2015

Possible Futures

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Nanozirconia Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Self-Healing Nano Anti-rust Coatings Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Nano Spray Instrument Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Academic/Education

Pakistani Students Who Survived Terror Attack to Attend Weeklong “NanoDiscovery Institute” at SUNY Poly CNSE in Albany July 29th, 2015

Deben reports on the use of their CT500 in the X-ray microtomography laboratory at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia July 22nd, 2015

JPK reports on the use of SPM in the Messersmith Group at UC Berkeley looking at biologically inspired polymer adhesives. July 21st, 2015

Renishaw adds Raman analysis to Scanning Electron Microscopy at the University of Sydney, Australia July 9th, 2015

Chip Technology

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips August 3rd, 2015

Better together: Graphene-nanotube hybrid switches August 3rd, 2015

MIPT researchers clear the way for fast plasmonic chips August 3rd, 2015

Thin films offer promise for ferroelectric devices: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology demystify the ferroelectric properties observed in hafnium-oxide-based thin films, revealing a potentially useful device material August 3rd, 2015

Nanoelectronics

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips August 3rd, 2015

Better together: Graphene-nanotube hybrid switches August 3rd, 2015

MIPT researchers clear the way for fast plasmonic chips August 3rd, 2015

Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record: Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers July 27th, 2015

Discoveries

Nanoparticles Give Antibacterial Properties to Machine-Woven Carpets August 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles used to breach mucus barrier in lungs: Proof-of-concept study conducted in mice a key step toward better treatments for lung diseases August 3rd, 2015

Promising Step Taken in Iran towards Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury August 3rd, 2015

Diagnosis of Salmonella Bacterium-Caused Food Poisoning by Biosensors August 3rd, 2015

Announcements

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles Give Antibacterial Properties to Machine-Woven Carpets August 4th, 2015

Promising Step Taken in Iran towards Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury August 3rd, 2015

Diagnosis of Salmonella Bacterium-Caused Food Poisoning by Biosensors August 3rd, 2015

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