Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Polymer Chip Fabrication
As Moores Law continues to prevail, processor manufacturers are continuing to produce faster and faster chips, while basically using the same underlying fabrication science. I have covered before how new nano-science such as replacing copper connecting wires with carbon nanotubes on chips could bring further advantages. Researchers are also experimenting with other approaches not based on current lithography techniques. This would mean that instead of requiring a template like pattern to be used to etch silicon, so-called hitching posts can be established using sparse silicon, to which complex chains of molecules can attach themselves to. The chains are made of very precise copolymers which can form motifs acting as transistors for example. The process of manufacturing would then involve soaking plates in a liquid and letting polymerisation happen, rather than a lithographic process. The technique is still at an embryonic stage but I would expect simpler chips with very regular patterns such as memory chips would be possible first. The properties of the copolymers and the size of the plates would determine the capacity of such memory chips.