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 Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers
20.09.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices
19.09.2017 | Graphene Flagship

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>