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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland researchers have made a breakthrough in the use of visible light for making tiny integrated circuits. Though their advance is probably at least a decade from commercial use, they say it could one day make i...
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2010 -- The science that helped make today's smartphones and iPods smaller but more powerful than yesterday's desktop computers highlights the latest episode in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Prized Science video se...
University of Minnesota researchers have made the first-ever hardness measurements on individual silicon nanospheres and shown that the nanospheres' hardness falls between the conventional hardness of sapphire and diamond, which are among the hardest known materials. Being able to measure such nanoparticle properties may eventually help scientists design low-cost superhard materials from these nanoscale building blocks. Up to four times harder than typical silicon -- a principal ingredient of computer chips, glass and sand -- the nanospheres demonstrate that other materials at the nanoscale, including sapphire, may also have vastly improved mechanical properties.
Duke University chemists say they've come up with a way to grow carbon nanotubes --- a.k.a. Buckytubes --- that vary in size far less than those produced previously. The technique could help with the development of nanostructures with electronic properties reliable enough to use in molecular-sized circuits.
Intel is set to disclose some of its plans in nanotechnology, sure to be key to the company's chips for decades to come. As reported by CNET's News.com, Sunlin Chou, senior VP of technology and manufacturing, will discuss some of the plans next week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose. Topping the topics likely to be covered: Carbon nanotubes and multigate transistors. Nanotubes are strings of carbon atoms tightly bonded together that show promise in manufacturing everything from tennis rackets to electronics. In computer chips, they can theoretically be used to replace the wispy metal wires that now define a chip's circuitry. That could make processors smaller and cheaper. Multigate transistors, meanwhile, are a way of addressing the conundrum faced by all chipmakers: The more powerful processors become, the more electricity must flow through them. But as chips shrink in size, the extremely small transistors that control this flow are growing overloaded, something like hooking up a fire hose to a Waterpik nozzle, as CNET puts it. One way around that is to give each transistor more than one gate, an approach that IBM is using in some of its products already. Although analysts say they doubt Intel will copy this entirely, the company likely has a similar approach up its sleeve.
Computer chips have been shrinking for years. But who stops to consider that that's only been possible because the stuff on the chips, like circuits, transistors and memory have shrunk too? To keep the trend going, Germany's Infineon has joined Advanced Micro Devices and United Microelectronics Corp. to develop technology to produce the tiny structures needed inside chips. As the number of elements on a chip doubles approximately every year, "chipmakers are under pressure to develop new microelements to fit on (them)," Reuters reports. Currently, the size of the smallest element on a chip is 130nm. The three-way alliance will focus on developing a 65nm and 45nm manufacturing process.