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­md Advance Lights Possible Path to Creating Next-Gen Computer Chips

University of Maryland researchers recently made tiny integrated circuits using visible light, a major breakthrough that could allow computer manufacturers to make smaller, faster, and cheaper computer chips. The researchers, led by professor John Fourkas, developed a technique known as RAPID lithography, which allows for lithographic resolution that is similar to that achieved by standard, shorter wavelength radiation. "Visible light is far less expensive to generate, propagate, and manipulate than shorter wavelength forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as vacuum ultraviolet or X-rays," Fourkas says.

The RAPID technique uses a special photoinitiator that can be turned on by one laser beam and turned off by another. In some of the researchers' experiments, the deactivation process was so efficient that the excitation beam also deactivated the molecules, meaning higher exposures result in smaller features, a phenomenon called proportional velocity (PROVE) dependence. "PROVE behavior is a simple way to identify photoinitiators that can be deactivated efficiently, which is an important step towards being able to use RAPID in an industrial setting," Fourkas says.

From UM Newsdesk
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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