Chou's research named top nanotech breakthrough by Forbes
Posted December 18, 2002; 10:43 a.m.
Research conducted by Princeton's Stephen Chou , which could greatly reduce the size and cost of computer chips, has been named the top nanotechnology breakthrough of 2002 by the Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report.
The report, a joint publication of Forbes magazine and venture capital firm Lux Capital, cited Chou's work for eliminating "the costly and time-consuming step of etching, or photolithography, the conventional way to make silicon transistors used in today's electronics."
Chou, the Joseph Elgin Professor of Engineering, invented a production method called Laser-Assisted Direct Imprint , which could allow electronics manufacturers to increase the density of transistors on silicon chips by 100-fold while dramatically streamlining the production process. Packing more transistors onto chips is the key to making more powerful computer processors and memory chips.
Researchers in Chou's laboratory used the new technique to make patterns with features measuring 10 nanometers -- 10 millionths of millimeter. The method involves pressing a mold against a piece of silicon and applying a laser pulse for just 20 billionths of a second. The surface of the silicon briefly melts and resolidifies around the mold.
Chou's method eliminates the etching process, which typically takes 10 or 20 minutes to make a single chip. The imprint method accomplishes it in a quarter of a millionth of a second.
The Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, a monthly publication on investment trends in nanotechnology, determined the top breakthroughs of 2002 by interviewing more than 30 of the world's leading experts in nanotechnology.
Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601