IBM makes semiconductor breakthrough

Nanotechnology structures are becoming increasingly smaller

August 18, 2009

Nanotechnology structures are becoming increasingly smaller

Today, scientists at IBM Research and the California Institute of Technology announced a semiconductor breakthrough.

IBM Researchers and collaborator Paul W.K. Rothmund, of the California Institute of Technology, have made an advancement in combining lithographic patterning with self assembly – a method to arrange DNA origami structures on surfaces compatible with today’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

The utility of this approach lies in the fact that the positioned DNA nanostructures can serve as scaffolds, or miniature circuit boards, for the precise assembly of components – such as carbon nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles – at dimensions significantly smaller than possible with conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques. This opens up the possibility of creating functional devices that can be integrated into larger structures, as well as enabling studies of arrays of nanostructures with known coordinates.

“The cost involved in shrinking features to improve performance is a limiting factor in keeping pace with Moore’s Law and a concern across the semiconductor industry,” said Spike Narayan, manager, Science & Technology, IBM Research – Almaden. “The combination of this directed self-assembly with today’s fabrication technology eventually could lead to substantial savings in the most expensive and challenging part of the chip-making process.”