A faster, cheaper method for making transistors and chips
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Date posted: 26/09/2011
Posted by: Site Administration
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Computing Power

Faster, less expensive, and better. These are the advantages of dynamic stencil lithography, a new way of fabricating nanostructures, such as the tiny structures on transistors and silicon chips.

The principle of the “stencil” technique for making structures at the nanometer scale (a millionth of a millimeter) is simple: a substrate – a Silicon (Si) wafer or flexible plastics - is placed in an evaporator. On top of it stands a stencil with openings, called apertures, about 100-200 nanometers in size. During the metal evaporation, the stencil acts like a mask, and only the metal that passes through the apertures lands on the substrate. It is thus possible to locally deposit metal on the substrate in a very specific pattern. This precision is essential for the transistors or other electronic components made up of these structures to function properly. “Take a piece of paper, cut a circle out of the middle. Put the rest of the paper against the wall, spray the whole thing with paint, and then remove the stencil. You have a nice circle. This is essentially the principle we’re using,” says Veronica Savu, who works in EPFL’s Microsystems Laboratory, led by Professor Juergen Brugger. “Using stencils to make something isn’t new, she continues. But to be able to do it at such a tiny scale is a real scientific challenge.”

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