DNA Scaffolding Technique Promises Sub-22 nm Lithography

Self assembly and lithography combine to create promising technique that could lead to 6 nm resolution

1 min read

In a paper to be published in next month’s Nature Nanotechnology, Researchers at IBM’s Almaden Research Center and the California Institute of Technology have developed a way to use DNA origami structures as a quasi circuit board or scaffold for precisely assembling components at resolutions as small as 6 nm.

The attractiveness of the process is that it utilizes currently used lithography techniques. Spike Narayan, manager, Science & Technology at the  IBM Almaden Research Center is quoted in the IBM press release:

“The cost involved in shrinking features to improve performance is a limiting factor in keeping pace with Moore’s Law and a concern across the semiconductor industry,” he says. “The combination of this directed self-assembly with today’s fabrication technology eventually could lead to substantial savings in the most expensive and challenging part of the chip-making process.”

The BBC’s coverage of the same story followed Narayan’s quote above with the rather sobering reality that it could take as long as 10 years to see this technology integrated into the semiconductor industry.

Whenever you see the figure “ten years’ used in future projections you could just as easily add another zero to that number. It’s sort of like saying, “Who knows?”

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

1 min read
A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.
LightGreen

Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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