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New nanoscale process created by UCSB scientists will help computers run faster and more efficiently
Date:9/25/2008

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Smaller. Faster. More efficient. These are the qualities that drive science and industry to create new nanoscale structures that will help to speed up computers.

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have made a major contribution to this field by designing a new nanotechnology that will ultimately help make computers smaller, faster, and more efficient. The new process is described in today's Science Express, the online version of the journal Science.

For the first time, the UCSB scientists have created a way to make square, nanoscale, chemical patterns from the bottom up that may be used in the manufacture of integrated circuit chips as early as 2011. It is called block co-polymer lithography.

Five leading manufacturers, including Intel and IBM, helped fund the research at UCSB, along with the National Science Foundation and other funders. The university has already applied for patents on the new methods developed here, and it will retain ownership.

A multidisciplinary team led by Craig Hawker, materials professor and director of the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB, with professors Glenn Fredrickson and Edward J. Kramer, have developed a novel process for creating features on silicon wafers that are between five and 20 nanometers thick. (A nanometer is the thickness of one-thousandth of a human hair.)

Hawker explained that for the future we need more powerful microprocessors that use less energy. "If you can shrink all these things down, you get both," he said "You get power and energy efficiency in one package."

He said that the industry is up against Moore's law, a trend that Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder, first described in 1965 in which the power of the microprocessor doubles every 18 months. "One of the problems is that the industry is now running into physical limitations," said Hawker. "You can't shrink things down any more with th
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Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

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