Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

X-Rays Map the 3D Interior of Integrated Circuits

View as: Print Mobile App Share: Send by email Share on reddit Share on StumbleUpon Share on Hacker News Share on Tweeter Share on Facebook
This reconstruction illuminates layers of copper wiring (yellow) down to the transistor level inside an Intel G3260 processor.

A team of researchers based in Switzerland pointed X-rays at a piece of an Intel processor and were able to reconstruct the chips transistors and wiring in three dimensions.

Credit: Mirko Holler

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland have used x-rays to peer within commercial integrated circuits and reconstruct them in three dimensions.

The team used x-ray ptychography to aim the beam at a sample from various angles and employ the diffraction patterns to reconstruct the semiconductor's interior.

Researcher Gabriel Aeppli says the technique yields better resolution than other methods, and at a larger scale. The conventional industry-standard technique involves progressively removing the processor's layers and capturing electron microscope images of one small area of the chip at a time.

TechInsights' Dick James sees limitations to the Swiss team's work, including the need for a synchrotron source to generate the images.

Still, the University of Southern California's Anthony Levi says, "total transparency in chip manufacturing is on the horizon. This is going to force a rethink of what computing is."

From IEEE Spectrum
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found