Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Way To Make Chips Could Lead To More Powerful Computers

Date:
September 10, 1997
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A novel method of making computer chips could produce personal computers that would be a thousand times more powerful than today's desktops, says a University of Illinois scientist who helped develop the technique. The new process, called SCALPEL (for "scattering with angular limitation projection electron lithography") can make chips with extremely small features.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A novel method of making computer chips could produce personal computers that would be a thousand times more powerful than today's desktops, says a University of Illinois scientist who helped develop the technique. The new process, called SCALPEL (for "scattering with angular limitation projection electron lithography") can make chips with extremely small features.

"The smaller the feature, the faster the device and the more components you can pack into a computer chip," said Murray Gibson, a professor of physics and of materials science and engineering, and associate director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory.

"Today's integrated circuits are produced by optical lithography," Gibson said. "The process consists of projecting a pattern of light onto a light-sensitive material, which can then be transferred to make a very dense array of tiny transistors. Currently, the smallest feature that can be manufactured has a width of about 10 millionths of an inch."

Improvements in computer speed and memory in the last decade have been tied directly to the increase in density of these transistors; that is, to reducing the minimum feature size, Gibson said. "However, optical technology will soon reach an impasse because light has too large a wavelength for producing patterns much smaller than today's."

For a long time, researchers have dreamed of using electron beams to write patterns, because electrons do not suffer from the wavelength limitation and therefore can produce patterns more than a hundred times smaller. However, an electron-based lithography system fast enough to be used economically in production proved elusive, until the invention of SCALPEL. By employing a novel projection method for writing large areas with electrons, SCALPEL overcame this major limitation.

In 1989, Gibson coinvented the technique with Steven Berger of Integrated Solutions Inc. while both were employed at AT&T Bell Laboratories (now Lucent Technologies). Recently, a SCALPEL proof of concept (SPOC) machine was built at Lucent and demonstrated the feasibility of manufacturing features with widths of less than 3 millionths of an inch -- a size required for the next century's computer improvements. Gibson assisted with the design of the SPOC machine, especially the basic electron optics of the lenses that project the image onto the chip.

The SPOC machine also demonstrated the feasibility of the method to reach production within the next decade. The industry consortium, SEMATECH, has identified SCALPEL as a leading technological contender for the manufacture of future computer chips.

"Although nearly $50 million of private and government support has been invested in SCALPEL, and the concept has been proven, it will take closer to $1 billion investment worldwide over the next decade to lead to actual production with SCALPEL," Gibson said. "These numbers, although sobering, are not untypical for the industry, where a single factory line for chip production costs about $1 billion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "New Way To Make Chips Could Lead To More Powerful Computers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970910053418.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1997, September 10). New Way To Make Chips Could Lead To More Powerful Computers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970910053418.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "New Way To Make Chips Could Lead To More Powerful Computers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970910053418.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) HeatSync Labs, a so-called hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona provides members and the public alike a space to allow their creative juices to flow and make their tech dreams into a reality. (Aug 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) There are two big knocks against the iPad — productivity limits and slumping sales. Here's how a bigger iPad could fix both of Apple's problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) The nationwide Internet crash resulted in millions of customers' internet connection to go out for hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins