Chips With Three-Dimensional Nanostructures Get Extra Features

First Posted: Nov 19, 2015 12:21 PM EST

Scientists have developed a new method that creates chips with three-dimensional nanostructures. The new method allows large-scale production of photonic crystals, which capture light, according to a study at the University of Twente, in the Netherlands.

This new development enables electronic chips to have new and additional features, which could revolutionize the functions of electronic devices. The researchers made the discovery while they were working on creating new types of photonic crystals

"Our method makes it possible to combine an endless variety of features on a chip, such as electronics, optics, magnets and microfluidics," Professor Willem Vos, co-author of the study, said in a news release.

Traditional methods for building 3-D nanostructures could be a tedious and limited process, which entails stacking layers on a silicon chip. Also, as layers are far apart, it alters the chip's efficiency.

However, the researcher's new method enables a 3-D nanostructure to be created on a chip through a single process. Their unique 3-D mask can define both sides of the wafer (thin semiconductor material). Thus, both sides of the chip are neatly aligned, which creates the alignment of the three-dimensional nanostructure.

This new technique paves the way for the development of chips with a wide range of functions and applications. The researchers are currently exploring ways for mass producing their new technology and they even believe that it could be used in medical applications as well.

The findings of this study were published in Nanotechnology.

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