Feeds

IBM claims self-assembling chip leap

Steals idea from nature

Build a business case: developing custom apps

IBM's highly boffinated research division delivered today when the firm said it would be first to deploy self-assembly microchip nanotechnology on an industrial scale.

The self-assembling material can be coaxed by a scaffold to form vacuum cavities, which improve electrical transmission by reducing transmission between supposedly separate parts of the circuit. Leakage between adjacent wires can release heat into the chip, damping performance, so a vacuum, the ultimate insulator for this "wiring capacitance" should speed things along - IBM says by 35 per cent.

Snowflake

IBM says scientists nicked the idea from nature, where similar processes form sea shells and other crystalline structures. It could mean curtains for lithographic manufacturing techniques, where copper wiring has to be masked with insulating material before lasers etch away. Lithography produces plenty of waste, as unwanted material is discarded after the etching.

IBM said the breakthrough came when its scientists discovered the right mix of polymers to bake onto the circuit wafer, which produced the desired "airgaps" around the copper. The vacuum cavities are just 20 nanometres in diameter, much smaller than the best lithography is capable of today.

IBM trotted out its chief boffin Dan Edelstein, who said: "This is the first time anyone has proven the ability to synthesise mass quantities of these self-assembled polymers and integrate them into an existing manufacturing process with great yield results."

The new process is already integrated into a production line at IBM's East Fishkill, New York, plant and chips will start shipping in servers in 2009. Toshiba and AMD have signed on to licence the technique too.

IBM has a detailed release about the technique here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.