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IBM using self-assembling material

By Mark M Drewe     May 3, 2007 in Technology
IBM has developed a way to make microchips run up to one-third faster or use 15 percent less power by using an exotic material that "self-assembles" in a similar way to a seashell or snowflake.
I've got to say, this advancement in chip technology is ridiculously cool. Not only does this help reduce power consumption, but it's also awesome in how in relates to natural processes.
The technique works by coating a silicon wafer with a layer of a special polymer that when baked, naturally forms trillions of uniformly tiny holes just 20 nanometers, or millionth of a millimeter, across.
The resulting pattern is used to create the copper wiring on top of a chip and the insulating gaps that let electricity flow smoothly. A similar process is seen in nature during the formation of snowflakes, tooth enamel and seashells, IBM said.
It's always good to see technology evolving for the better; especially in an age where conservation of resources (energy is part of resources, for anyone wondering) is coming to the forefront of people's business developments.
The problem that IBM engineers had to deal was developing the technology that allows electricity to flow freely without being lost, which required to alter the original holes, which created a swiss cheese pattern without any mechanical integrity.
This discovery comes on the heels of last month's announcement that IBM had managed to find a way to stack the chip components on top of each other to allow for electricity to flow more freely.
I can only wonder now how interrelated the two discoveries are; both help reduce the amount of energy needed to operate the chip - now if they can duplicate that kind of success onto other components of the computer, how efficient can computers become? Not to mention, how fast?
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