Thursday, February 19, 2009
Transistors with feature sizes of just two-nanometers--compared the the 45- and 32-nanometer transistors which are state-of-the-art today--have been fabricated with a new technique called Sketch-an-FET (after the popular Etch-a-Sketch game). The researchers used the tip of an atomic force microscope like an Etch-a-Sketch stylus to fabricate the transistors at the University of Pittsburgh (by professor Jeremy Levy--pictured).
BOTTOM LINE: Professor's Levy's demonstration is impressive and his technique is unique, in my experience. However, transferring this one-by-one technique into a usable tool at semiconductor makers will require a different approach. An atomic force microscope is a useful tool, but cannot be used in a production environment. If this technique can be commercialized, it will be at least a decade before its kinks are worked out.
Posted by R. Colin Johnson at 8:30 AM