Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Revolutionary method generates new template for microelectronics

25.02.2009
Copolymer may enable 10 times more computer memory

Researchers say a newly tested method for producing super dense, defect-free, thin polymer films is the fastest, most efficient method ever achieved and it may dramatically improve microelectronic storage capabilities such as those in computer memory sticks.

In the February 20 issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and their colleagues at the University of California Berkeley, report how they designed a new way to guide the self-assembly of the material used to store computer memory, layered block copolymers, and generate up to 10 times more storage space than similarly sized copolymers.

The researchers say they developed a defect-free method that can generate more than 10-terabit-per-square-inch copolymer where other efforts achieved at most one terabit per square inch. A terabit is an information storage unit equal to one trillion bits.

"We can generate nearly perfect arrays over macroscopic surfaces where the density is over 15 times higher than anything achieved before," said Thomas Russell director of the UMass Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. He co-led the research with Ting Xu, a member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Berkeley. "We applied a simple concept to solve several problems at once, and it really worked out," Russell said.

The concept involved stacking atoms more closely together than previously thought possible to produce the highest density copolymer ever achieved, one capable of storing more information than previous copolymers. Researchers used surface ridges of a base crystal to guide the assembly very much like using the corrugations in cardboard to direct how closely marbles can be packed together.

For the copolymer's base layer, the researchers used commercially-available sapphire wafers, which start out flat. After heating them from 1300 to 1500 degrees Celsius for 24 hours, the wafer's surface reorganized into a sawtooth topography with an inherent orientation. A thin copolymer film layer then was applied causing the underlying sawtooth corrugations to guide the film's self-assembly in a highly-ordered way to form an ultra-dense hexagonal, or honeycomb, crystalline lattice.

Additionally, by varying the annealing temperature, the scientists were able to change the angle and height of the sawteeth and the depth of the troughs between their peaks. The result enabled researchers to produce more densely packed troughs, which is where computer memory is stored.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science.

"I expect this new method of producing highly ordered macroscopic arrays of nanoscopic elements will revolutionize the microelectronic and storage industries and perhaps others," said Russell.

He points out most previous efforts to create a well-ordered base material onto which electronic information is stored topped out at 15 nanometers for the smallest achievable pattern size. But "we've shattered that barrier and I think we can go farther," Russell said.

"This research by the teams at UMass Amerherst and Berkeley represents a significant breakthrough in the use of polymer self-assembly to create a high density of addressable locations in a thin film," said NSF program manager William J. Brittain. "Most significantly, the simple crystalline lattice used as the template may serve as a revolutionary step for a new generation of computer memory."

Bobbie Mixon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>