New Process for Developing Crystals from IBM could cut Down Cost and Size


Published Date : Jun 17, 2015

Researchers at IBM have come up with a process that grows crystals from semiconductor materials. According to the researchers, these crystals can be integrated in silicon chips. This is a crucial step in the future development of computing. The IBM’s Zurich research team thinks that its work will let integrated circuits to continue in cutting down on the size and cost and boosting the performance of the ICs simultaneously.

This will allow an extension of the Moore’s Law, which was observed by the co-founder of Intel, Graham Moore in the year 1965. The observation was that the number of transistors in per square inch on ICs doubles every year. Though the co-founder contemplated this trend would continue forever, there have been rising concerns about the existing technology which are reaching limits of their potential.

According to the researcher Heinz Schmid at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, the whole semiconductor industry wants this Law to continue. He further stated that they need better performing transistors and as the industry continues towards the down-scaling trend and transistors that are based on silicon will not improve any further.

To answer this challenge, the team has created single crystal nanostructures composed using III-V materials that include the alloys of arsenide, gallium, and indium. The III-V semiconductors are expected to be a potential key material for computer chips, however, their integration onto silicon has proven unsuccessful up till now.

The method used to grow the crystals is called TASE or template assisted selective epitaxy. This technique uses metal organic chemical vapor deposition. This method enabled the team to create defect free crystals and to successfully lithographically define oxide templates and to make them full using epitaxy, and make cross junctions, nanowires, nanostructures that feature constrictions along with the 3D stacked nanowires. According to the Heinz Schmid, more research is required prior to exerting the same level of control over these materials.