Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Method Could Lead To Narrower Chip Patterns

Date:
April 16, 2009
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Researchers have found a novel method for etching extremely narrow lines on a microchip, using a material that can be switched from transparent to opaque, and vice versa, just by exposing it to certain wavelengths of light.

Researchers at MIT have found a novel method for etching extremely narrow lines on a microchip, using a material that can be switched from transparent to opaque, and vice versa, just by exposing it to certain wavelengths of light.

Such materials are not new, but the researchers found a novel way of harnessing that property to create a mask with exceptionally fine lines of transparency. This mask can then be used to create a correspondingly fine line on the underlying material.

Producing such fine lines is crucial to many new technologies, from microchip manufacturing that is constantly seeking ways to cram more components onto a single chip, to a whole host of emerging fields based on nano-scale patterns. But these technologies have faced fundamental limits because they tend to rely on light to produce these patterns, and most techniques cannot produce patterns much smaller than the wavelengths of light itself. This method is a way of overcoming that limit.

The key is using interference patterns, in which different wavelengths of light sometimes reinforce each other and in other places cancel each other out. The researchers exposed the photochromic material -- one that changes its color, and therefore its transparency, in response to light -- to a pair of such patterns, each of a different wavelength, simultaneously. When the bright lines at one wavelength coincide with the dark lines at the other wavelength, extremely narrow lines of clear material are formed interspersed with the opaque material. This banded layer then serves as a mask through which the first wavelength illuminates a layer of material underneath, similarly to the way a photographic negative is used to make a print by shining light through it onto a sheet of photo paper underneath.

The research was carried out by research engineer Rajesh Menon of the Research Laboratory of Electronics and graduate students Trisha Andrew in the Department of Chemistry and Hsin-Yu Tsai in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and is being reported in a paper published in the April 10 issue of Science.

Remarkably, the new technique, which the researchers call absorbance modulation, makes it possible to create lines that are only about one-tenth as wide as the wavelength of light used to create them. Part of the trick was to find a suitable photochromic material whose clear and opaque parts would remain stable after the initial exposure to light.

Using this method, the team produced lines just 36 nanometers wide, and say they could also place many such lines spaced a similar distance apart.

Such a technique "could have a significant impact on chip making," Menon says, and could also help to enable new work in a variety of emerging fields that rely on nano-scale patterning, including nanophotonics, nanofluidics, nanoelectronics, and nano-biological systems.

Already, a company has been formed to develop this technology, and Menon says he expects it to lead to commercial production within five years.

But that's not the only potential application of the approach. Menon says his team is pursuing possible use of the same system for imaging systems, which could enable new kinds of microscopes for observing at nanoscale resolution, with possible applications in biology and in materials science. At the same time, he is pursuing ways of using the technique to create even smaller patterns, down to the scale of individual molecules.

The work was partly funded by grants from LumArray Inc., where Menon is co-founder, the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, and DARPA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "New Method Could Lead To Narrower Chip Patterns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090410123459.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2009, April 16). New Method Could Lead To Narrower Chip Patterns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090410123459.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "New Method Could Lead To Narrower Chip Patterns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090410123459.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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