October 26, 2010
Microwave Oven Key To Self-Assembly Process Meeting Semi-Conductor Industry Need
Decrease in self-assembly processing time creates viable alternative to conventional lithography
Thanks to a microwave oven, the fundamental nanotechnology process of self assembly may soon replace the lithographic processing use to make the ubiquitous semi-conductor chips. By using microwaves, researchers at Canada's National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) and the University of Alberta have dramatically decreased the cooking time for a specific molecular self-assembly process used to assemble block copolymers, and have now made it a viable alternative to the conventional lithography process for use in patterning semi-conductors. When the team of chemists and electrical engineering researchers replaced convective heat with a microwave oven, nano-sized particles were encouraged to organize themselves into very regular patterns extremely quickly "“ reducing the processing time from days to less than one minute.
"This is one of the first examples of the self-assembly process being used to address a real world problem for the semi-conductor industry," said Dr. Jillian Buriak "We've got the process; the next step is to exploit it to make something useful."
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