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Nanorobots for Patterning Circuits

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 11:03AM

Lithography is the process used for etching circuits onto the silicon wafers that eventually become our computer chips. As component sizes have decreased though, new methods have had to be developed, such as electron beam writing, but it is a somewhat expensive process and not well suited for mass production. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have recently developed a new process that is more compatible with mass production.

Instead of using an e-beam writer to mark out the circuits, this method employs two nanorobots that will trace out the pattern in the photoresist. Both robots are powered by hydrogen peroxide and can be magnetically controlled, but have different shapes. One is spherical and will focus light onto the photoresist, creating a trench, while the other has a rod shape that will block light, leaving a ridge behind. Several of these robots can work together, to create parallel surface patterns.

As the researchers point out, electron beam lithography still has advantages over this approach, but these nanorobots can be used at a fraction of the cost and are much simpler.

Source: University of California, San Diego

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