Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This is SO clever!

I just love these kinds of brilliant things, they're so ingenious!
As microchips shrink, even tiny defects in the lines, dots and other shapes etched on them become major barriers to performance. Princeton engineers have now found a way to literally melt away such defects, using a process that could dramatically improve chip quality without increasing fabrication cost.
In the most basic terms, they put a quartz crystal plate over the chip and blast it with a laser. The metal lines on the chip melt and flow a little, which fixes any breaks or jagged edges. How fricking simple is that?
Chou's method, termed Self-Perfection by Liquefaction, achieves this by melting the structures on a chip momentarily, and guiding the resulting flow of liquid so that it re-solidifies into the desired shapes. This is possible because natural forces acting on the molten structures, such as surface tension -- the force that allows some insects to walk on water -- smooth the structures into geometrically more accurate shapes. Lines, for instance, become straighter, and dots become rounder.
Here's a picture of how well it works.

Now that's impressive!

The Phantom

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