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Primeur weekly 2019-09-09

Quantum computing

New quantum project aims for ultra-secure communication in Europe ...

Schrödinger and Qu & Co announce collaboration to advance quantum mechanical computations on quantum computers ...

Spreading light over quantum computers ...

Focus on Europe

AUBASS' AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform solution ported on Kalray's intelligent processor ...

eScience Center takes part in hackathon to improve tools for analysis of internet therapies ...

At the edge of chaos, powerful new electronics could be created ...

Middleware

2CRSI becomes a Bright reseller in the USA, Europe and Middle East ...

NERSC and ECP host OpenMP Hackathon for energy-efficient architectures ...

Hardware

Shell and PDENH are investing in Dutch sustainable data centre technology scale-up Asperitas ...

Konstantinos Orginos awarded time on world's fastest supercomputer to study Lattice QCD ...

GRC teams with NVIDIA to provide fully optimized liquid-immersion cooled system to support the Texas Advanced Computing Center's Frontera supercomputer ...

Mellanox introduces new LinkX 200G & 400G cables & transceivers at CIOE, Shenzhen, China and ECOC, Dublin, Ireland 2019 ...

Texas boosts U.S. science with fastest academic supercomputer in the world ...

New insulation technique paves the way for more powerful and smaller chips ...

WekaIO awarded three patents ...

Intel Xeon Scalable processors drive advanced research in world's fastest academic supercomputer ...

Applications

Rochester Institute of Technology researchers use Frontera supercomputer to simulate neutron star mergers ...

Researchers use TACC's new Frontera supercomputer to simulate viruses and cells ...

Teaching Neural Networks Quantum Chemistry ...

Building a sunnier energy future ...

Researchers apply increasing computational power to develop predictive models and create patient-specific treatment plans ...

Researchers will simulate high speed turbulent flows on Frontera supercomputer ...

U.S. National Science Foundation awards San Diego Supercomputer Center and partners $5,9 million to host EarthCube Office ...

Researchers uncover role of earthquake motions in triggering a 'surprise' tsunami ...

Artificial Intelligence for Physics Research ...

NCSA machine learning pipeline provides insight into energy-efficient home improvement programmes ...

Eight projects to gain early access to the Frontier supercomputer ...

New Berkeley Lab study uses supercomputers to analyze hydrological changes in a California watershed following a wildfire ...

PPG selected for DOE partnership to speed development, testing of adhesives for lightweight vehicles ...

Sum of three cubes for 42 finally solved - using real life planetary computer ...

New insulation technique paves the way for more powerful and smaller chips


Seamless filling of nanoscale trenches with a porous metal-organic framework enabled by solvent-free conversion of a dense metal oxide film. Credit: Ameloot Group.
4 Sep 2019 Leuven - Researchers at KU Leuven and imec, Belgium have successfully developed a new technique to insulate microchips. The technique uses metal-organic frameworks, a new type of materials consisting of structured nanopores. In the long term, this method can be used for the development of even smaller and more powerful chips that consume less energy. The team has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant to further their research.

Computer chips are getting increasingly smaller. That's not new: Gordon Moore, one of the founders of chip manufacturer Intel, already predicted it in 1965. Moore's law states that the number of transistors in a chip, or integrated circuit, doubles about every two years. This prognosis was later adjusted to 18 months, but the theory still stands. Chips are getting smaller and their processing power is increasing. Nowadays, a chip can have over a billion transistors.

But this continued reduction in size also brings with it a number of obstacles. The switches and wires are packed together so tightly that they generate more resistance. This, in turn, causes the chip to consume more energy to send signals. To have a well-functioning chip, you need an insulating substance that separates the wires from each other, and ensures that the electrical signals are not disrupted. However, that's not an easy thing to achieve at the nanoscale level.

A study led by KU Leuven professor Rob Ameloot, Department of Microbial and Molecular systems, shows that a new technique might provide the solution. "We're using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as the insulating substance. These are materials that consist of metal ions and organic molecules. Together, they form a crystal that is porous yet sturdy."

For the first time, a research team at KU Leuven and imec managed to apply the MOF insulation to electronic material. An industrial method called chemical vapour deposition was used for this, said postdoctoral researcher Mikhail Krishtab, Department of Microbial and Molecular systems. "First, we place an oxide film on the surface. Then, we let it react with vapour of the organic material. This reaction causes the material to expand, forming the nanoporous crystals."

"The main advantage of this method is that it's bottom-up", stated Mikhail Krishtab. "We first deposit an oxide film, which then swells up to a very porous MOF material. You can compare it to a soufflé; that puffs up in the oven and becomes very light. The MOF material forms a porous structure that fills all the gaps between the conductors. That's how we know the insulation is complete and homogeneous. With other, top-down methods, there's always still the risk of small gaps in the insulation."

Professor Ameloot's research group has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant to further develop the technique, in collaboration with Silvia Armini from imec's team working on advanced dielectric materials for nanochips. "At imec, we have the expertise to develop wafer-based solutions, scaling technologies from lab to fab and paving the way to realising a manufacturable solution for the microelectronics industry."

"We've shown that the MOF material has the right properties", Professor Ameloot continued. "Now, we just have to refine the finishing. The surface of the crystals is still irregular at the moment. We have to smoothen this to integrate the material in a chip."

Once the technique has been perfected, it can be used to create powerful, small chips that consume less energy. Professor Ameloot stated: "Various AI applications require a lot of processing power. Think of self-driving cars and smart cities. Technology companies are constantly looking for new solutions that are both quick and energy efficient. Our research can be a valuable contribution to a new generation of chips."

The paper titled "Vapor-deposited zeolitic imidazolate frameworks as gap-filling ultra-low-k dielectrics" is authored by Mikhail Krishtab, Ivo Stassen, Timothée Stassin, Alexander John Cruz, Oguzhan Orkut Okudur, Silvia Armini, Chris Wilson, Stefan De Gendt, and Rob Ameloot. It is publised inNature Communications, volume 10, Article number: 3729 (2019).
Source: KU Leuven

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2019-09-09

Quantum computing

New quantum project aims for ultra-secure communication in Europe ...

Schrödinger and Qu & Co announce collaboration to advance quantum mechanical computations on quantum computers ...

Spreading light over quantum computers ...

Focus on Europe

AUBASS' AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform solution ported on Kalray's intelligent processor ...

eScience Center takes part in hackathon to improve tools for analysis of internet therapies ...

At the edge of chaos, powerful new electronics could be created ...

Middleware

2CRSI becomes a Bright reseller in the USA, Europe and Middle East ...

NERSC and ECP host OpenMP Hackathon for energy-efficient architectures ...

Hardware

Shell and PDENH are investing in Dutch sustainable data centre technology scale-up Asperitas ...

Konstantinos Orginos awarded time on world's fastest supercomputer to study Lattice QCD ...

GRC teams with NVIDIA to provide fully optimized liquid-immersion cooled system to support the Texas Advanced Computing Center's Frontera supercomputer ...

Mellanox introduces new LinkX 200G & 400G cables & transceivers at CIOE, Shenzhen, China and ECOC, Dublin, Ireland 2019 ...

Texas boosts U.S. science with fastest academic supercomputer in the world ...

New insulation technique paves the way for more powerful and smaller chips ...

WekaIO awarded three patents ...

Intel Xeon Scalable processors drive advanced research in world's fastest academic supercomputer ...

Applications

Rochester Institute of Technology researchers use Frontera supercomputer to simulate neutron star mergers ...

Researchers use TACC's new Frontera supercomputer to simulate viruses and cells ...

Teaching Neural Networks Quantum Chemistry ...

Building a sunnier energy future ...

Researchers apply increasing computational power to develop predictive models and create patient-specific treatment plans ...

Researchers will simulate high speed turbulent flows on Frontera supercomputer ...

U.S. National Science Foundation awards San Diego Supercomputer Center and partners $5,9 million to host EarthCube Office ...

Researchers uncover role of earthquake motions in triggering a 'surprise' tsunami ...

Artificial Intelligence for Physics Research ...

NCSA machine learning pipeline provides insight into energy-efficient home improvement programmes ...

Eight projects to gain early access to the Frontier supercomputer ...

New Berkeley Lab study uses supercomputers to analyze hydrological changes in a California watershed following a wildfire ...

PPG selected for DOE partnership to speed development, testing of adhesives for lightweight vehicles ...

Sum of three cubes for 42 finally solved - using real life planetary computer ...