Self-Healing Integrated Chips DevelopedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 14, 2013 03:43PM
Personally I have had the good fortune to never destroy any component of my computer, but I and maybe you can name some people who have. Depending on the kind of damage, it could be impossible to repair and require you purchase a replacement, but in the future that may no longer by the case. Researchers at Caltech have successfully created a chip with the ability to repair itself from serious damage.
The chip the researchers built is a power amplifier that operates with millimeter-wave frequencies, and can be used for communication, imaging, and sensing applications. To make the chip self-healing, the researchers created and installed an application-specific integrated-circuit (ASIC) unit that continually monitors the health of the chip. Having already been programmed with the optimum characteristics of the chip, the ASIC unit uses the data it collects to repair the chip and return to the programmed state using the system's actuators. To test this system the researchers actually fired a high-power laser at the chips, blasting its transistors apart but in less than a second it was able to heal the damage and start operating again.
Computer chips with this capability could see many uses in the future and it turns out self-healing is not the only benefit these have. When compared to normal chips the researchers discovered the self-healing ones conserved considerably more power while also being more reliable performers.