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Lasers Enable Finer Chip Structures, Advance of Moore's Law

By - Source: MIT | B 68 comments

A research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said it has found a new way to shrink circuit structures in semiconductors.

Current chip manufacturing relies on photolithography techniques, which can only produce chip features that are larger than the wavelength of the light applied.

A process that is described in the paper "Breaking the Far-Field Diffraction Limit in Optical Nanopatterning via Repeated Photochemical and Electrochemical Transitions in Photochromic Molecules", published in Physical Review Letters, can create complex structures chip structures 1/8 the size of the wavelength of the light used. According to the researchers, an effect called stimulated emission depletion imaging (STED) enabled them to go beyond the current limitations of photolithography. In STED, scientists leverage the fluorescent characteristics of materials to emit light when targeted by a laser beam. By controlling the laser's power, the researchers can affect the strength of light emitted and, if the power falls enough, cause a "dark patch" that is smaller than the wavelength of the laser light itself. These dark patches can be used as masks, which can be applied to a surface.

The MIT researchers believe that their invention could be used to create semiconductors with much finer structures than possible today. There could also be an opportunity to apply this technology in photonic devices, MIT said.

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  • 29 Hide
    salgado18 , December 26, 2011 11:24 AM
    Now THAT deserves a patent, not some buttons on scren.
  • 24 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , December 26, 2011 11:16 AM
    theuniquegamerThat means we can get 32 or more cores in the mobile chips in next few years.


    ... and over 9000 in the desktop ones :D 

    Remember, whatever "mobile" has to offer, desktop will always pwn it.
  • 23 Hide
    salgado18 , December 26, 2011 11:41 AM
    Quote:
    No way. You're again patenting an IDEA, FFS! That will just slow the implementation down! Where would the humanity be if everyone would be patenting everything from the invention of the wheel, huh?

    That's real technology, a new process of production of really small circuits. It takes years of research, a lot of knowledge and study, and a hell lot of money to even make it right, so it definitely deserves a patent to these guys.

    If that's not a patent, then what is?
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    LOL92 , December 26, 2011 11:07 AM
    really? that good. i hope we can see a lower than 10nm architecture
  • 4 Hide
    theuniquegamer , December 26, 2011 11:12 AM
    That means we can get 32 or more cores in the mobile chips in next few years.
  • 24 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , December 26, 2011 11:16 AM
    theuniquegamerThat means we can get 32 or more cores in the mobile chips in next few years.


    ... and over 9000 in the desktop ones :D 

    Remember, whatever "mobile" has to offer, desktop will always pwn it.
  • 6 Hide
    guru_urug , December 26, 2011 11:20 AM
    Combine this with the molybdenite tech in the previous article and we have pocket supercomputers. Seriously the future is really exciting!!! Cant wait
  • 29 Hide
    salgado18 , December 26, 2011 11:24 AM
    Now THAT deserves a patent, not some buttons on scren.
  • 23 Hide
    salgado18 , December 26, 2011 11:41 AM
    Quote:
    No way. You're again patenting an IDEA, FFS! That will just slow the implementation down! Where would the humanity be if everyone would be patenting everything from the invention of the wheel, huh?

    That's real technology, a new process of production of really small circuits. It takes years of research, a lot of knowledge and study, and a hell lot of money to even make it right, so it definitely deserves a patent to these guys.

    If that's not a patent, then what is?
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 26, 2011 11:44 AM
    I like this.
  • 10 Hide
    mildgamer001 , December 26, 2011 11:47 AM
    amk-aka-Phantom... and over 9000 in the desktop ones Remember, whatever "mobile" has to offer, desktop will always pwn it.

    ITS OVER 9000!!!!
  • 7 Hide
    de5_Roy , December 26, 2011 11:54 AM
    over 9000!!!!!
  • 11 Hide
    bgaimur , December 26, 2011 12:06 PM
    brb, going in my time machine 50 years from now. See you guys later :D 
  • 9 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 26, 2011 12:21 PM
    Quote:
    really? that good. i hope we can see a lower than 10nm architecture


    Here is another report on the article that states things in what is, IMHO, a more accurate manner. It implies that the technology is capable of producing features that are 1/8 the size of what is currently used in the industry with a technology that is completely compatible with existing semiconductor fabrication technology.

    IMHO, it is potentially more significant than the Tom's article implies - if, of course, it is actually employed in the industry.

    Quote:
    That means we can get 32 or more cores in the mobile chips in next few years.

    So here's the cool thing about this, IMHO. I think the "core count" will scale as a function of area (i.e., a square function). So, for 1/8 current dimensions, you have 64x the core count. Which could mean 512 cores in the very near future. :wahoo: 
  • 15 Hide
    uproller , December 26, 2011 12:31 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomI really don't care. Patents = slow-downs in technical progress. I'm a selfish bastard and don't care for anything but my benefit If their research was not for the benefit of the mankind but for money, they can go #@$! themselves, period.


    Oh the irony.
  • 9 Hide
    stingstang , December 26, 2011 2:02 PM
    wiyosayaHere is another report on the article that states things in what is, IMHO, a more accurate manner. It implies that the technology is capable of producing features that are 1/8 the size of what is currently used in the industry with a technology that is completely compatible with existing semiconductor fabrication technology.IMHO, it is potentially more significant than the Tom's article implies - if, of course, it is actually employed in the industry.So here's the cool thing about this, IMHO. I think the "core count" will scale as a function of area (i.e., a square function). So, for 1/8 current dimensions, you have 64x the core count. Which could mean 512 cores in the very near future.
    say Imho one more time..
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , December 26, 2011 2:05 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomI really don't care. Patents = slow-downs in technical progress. I'm a selfish bastard and don't care for anything but my benefit If their research was not for the benefit of the mankind but for money, they can go #@$! themselves, period.


    Hmm, may I ask then what have YOU done for mankind ? :-)
    Or do you just expect others to do for you ?

    You can not expect a business to do research etc for free. After all they have to somehow pay their researchers, the research assistants, the staff and the janitor. Hell, YOU may be one of the people they have to pay.
    there is nothing wrong with making a buck and protecting your investment of time and brainpower if it is within socially responsible limits.
  • 15 Hide
    inanition02 , December 26, 2011 2:21 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomTesla did it. Did more than anyone else at his time.


    Tesla often worked for profit - and created companies to sell his inventions. Also, we asked if you did it, not someone else. Bill Gates gives away billions - does that mean you're charitable? Or that everyone should give away everything?

    Also, if you want to be Tesla, go ahead - "Because of his eccentric personality and his seemingly unbelievable and sometimes bizarre claims about possible scientific and technological developments, Tesla was ultimately ostracized and regarded as a mad scientist by many late in his life.[7] He died without much money to his name.[8]"
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