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Self-Assembling Chips Could Push Production Limits

By - Source: MIT | B 19 comments

Researchers have found a way to enable the creation of circuitry with self-assembling rectangles.

If the technology finds its way into commercial production, devices such as memory or processors could be produced faster and scaled down to smaller structures. The approach could also lead to storage products such as hard drives with greater capacities.

The method, developed at MIT by visiting doctoral student Amir Tavakkoli of the National University of Singapore, as well as two graduate students and under the leadership of three professors, the team was able to force self-assembling polymers not to create hexagonal shapes, but squares in the form of an array of tiny posts on the surface that guides the patterning of the self-assembling polymer molecules. The researchers found that they could use the same approach to build a variety of shapes of the material itself, including cylinders, spheres, ellipsoids and double cylinders.

Karl Berggren, co-author of a published paper and associate professor of electrical engineering at MIT, said that the team was able to achieve those shapes since “the template, which is coated so as to repel one of the polymer components, causes a lot of local strain on the pattern. The polymer then twists and turns to try to avoid this strain, and in so doing rearranges on the surface. So we can defeat the polymer’s natural inclinations, and make it create much more interesting patterns.”

Besides a possible time-to-market advantage the self-assembling method could have over electron-beam lithography (due to the fact that multiple shapes and patterns can be created simultaneously), the researchers said that their technology could also deliver finer chip structures with twice the feature density. It is a seen as a possible solution to integrate much more circuitry on any given space of a microchip. However, the self-assembling method is not limited to semiconductors. Magnetic media could also benefit from a much more granular pattern.

 

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  • 4 Hide
    MaxTesla , July 25, 2012 3:05 PM
    Skynet Skynet Skynet

    We are all going to die.
  • 8 Hide
    Onus , July 25, 2012 3:09 PM
    Now all we need to do is engineer a bacterium to poop out this stuff. Hmmm, didn't Michael Crichton already describe something like this?
  • 5 Hide
    Albyint , July 25, 2012 5:02 PM
    First we have self repairing nano circuitry demoed last year, then those little atom bots that continually add to themselves to make themselves more efficient, now we have self building computer chips. This does mean our cyber overlords are nearing completion!

    All hail the Oligarchy of Steel! >_>
  • 6 Hide
    f-14 , July 25, 2012 5:07 PM
    tick tock and moore's law.
    god forbid that this process gets patented and stolen by apple, samsung, blah blah blah kevin parrish and douglas perry will have a collective apoplexy with their communist/borg approach to technology.

    had to tweak their noses, they do deserve it.
  • 4 Hide
    supall , July 25, 2012 5:48 PM
    Moore's law continues...!

    I'm starting to think MIT is controlled by some sort of complex AI that is steering the course to robot domination with all of their inventions.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 25, 2012 5:59 PM
    The cybernetic overlords must be created, for Science!
  • 6 Hide
    A Bad Day , July 25, 2012 6:09 PM
    jtt283Now all we need to do is engineer a bacterium to poop out this stuff. Hmmm, didn't Michael Crichton already describe something like this?


    Last year or so, a group of researchers got some algae specie similar to Coccolithophore to build a microchip die into their shells. Once the algae dies off, you harvest the shells.

    I wonder if calcium compounds are going to affect the transistors though.
  • -3 Hide
    deksman , July 25, 2012 7:01 PM
    MaxTeslaSkynet Skynet SkynetWe are all going to die.


    What the frack is with people making these idiotic claims that computers are going to take over and kill us?
    Oh right... its a byproduct of BAD hollywood movies that deal in fantasy and not science.

    For the love of man people, show some capacity for critical thinking and stop projecting movies into reality.
  • 1 Hide
    deksman , July 25, 2012 7:04 PM
    supallMoore's law continues...!I'm starting to think MIT is controlled by some sort of complex AI that is steering the course to robot domination with all of their inventions.


    Lol...
    Moore's law is nothing more than a business model that caters to capitalism and profits... apart from that, it has NOTHING to do with our technical capability or efficiency because we already had the ability to produce much more powerful, faster, fully upgradeable, extremely efficient computers since (at least) 1997.

    I'm amazed at how people have the capacity to think that what we see in the market today (planned obsolescence) is the 'best' what we can do (far from it).
  • 7 Hide
    RipperjackAU , July 25, 2012 7:50 PM
    You know where this is all going to end up?

  • -3 Hide
    verbalizer , July 25, 2012 7:56 PM
    OK but didn't AMD go fully automated (production) with the FX-Bulldozer.?
    see where that got them..
  • 1 Hide
    JerryC , July 25, 2012 8:51 PM
    urban legendOK but didn't AMD go fully automated (production) with the FX-Bulldozer.?see where that got them..


    That wasnt because of the automation, thats all due to the poor design.
  • -1 Hide
    verbalizer , July 25, 2012 8:59 PM
    Quote:
    That wasnt because of the automation, thats all due to the poor design.

    I know, just being the usual sarcastic arse that I am... :whistle: 
  • 7 Hide
    husker , July 25, 2012 10:22 PM
    deksmanWhat the frack is with people making these idiotic claims that computers are going to take over and kill us?Oh right... its a byproduct of BAD hollywood movies that deal in fantasy and not science.For the love of man people, show some capacity for critical thinking and stop projecting movies into reality.

    Which is exactly what I'd expect a malicious a.i. to tell us.
  • 5 Hide
    superp , July 25, 2012 11:00 PM
    so from then on, a computer virus could finally kill people...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 26, 2012 2:22 AM
    Deksman . . . if you can't tell we're being sarcastic and making jest, I think you should be sacrificed to the cyberlords. Srsly. Especially after going through the trouble to downrate everyone who made such comments, really man.
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , July 26, 2012 4:51 AM
    JerryCThat wasnt because of the automation, thats all due to the poor design.
    It's really not a horrible design, it just isn't ideal for typical consumer usage. It has its strengths in other markets. Although even in the PC arena, with some tweaking it is already much better. Piledriver plus L3 and higher clocks would give the FX lineup quite a decent boost over existing BD chips.
  • 0 Hide
    deksman , July 26, 2012 8:37 PM
    TeholHiDeksman . . . if you can't tell we're being sarcastic and making jest, I think you should be sacrificed to the cyberlords. Srsly. Especially after going through the trouble to downrate everyone who made such comments, really man.


    I'm sick and tired of listening and reading those types of comments from people because they only do more harm than good (even if its meant as a joke).


  • 0 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , July 27, 2012 10:25 PM
    Well didn't Ray Kurzweil say something about some point of time in the future, which he calls the singularity, when the most powerful supercomputer will be fully designed and built by the previous most powerful supercomputer, and this process will then keep repeating in a runaway loop?