Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
December 01, 2006
Silicon nanowires can help to further reduce the size of microchips. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle have for the first time developed single crystal silicon nanowires that fulfil the key criteria to this end. The researchers used aluminium as a catalyst to grow the nanowires. To date, scientists have usually deployed gold for this purpose. However, even traces of the precious metal have a drastically detrimental effect on the function of semiconductor components. This is not the case with other metals, which catalyse the process, but only at temperatures that would not enable economically viable processes. On the other hand, aluminium is an effective catalyst even at relatively low temperatures and does not impair the quality of electronic components (Nature Nanotechnology, online: November 26, 2006).
In its never-ending quest to develop more efficient and more powerful microchips, the semiconductor industry is constantly advancing the miniaturization of circuits. Currently, the transistors lie on the surface of the substrate. Vertical silicon nanowires would reduce the space requirement considerably.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics have now grown silicon nanowires on aluminium particles for the first time. Such nanowires are suitable for applications in the micro-chip industry, unlike nanowires which form on gold, the material that has mostly been used as a catalyst material up to now. Gold reduces the quality of microelectronic components drastically, and must not even come close to the production machines.
Aluminium on the other hand does not have a detrimental effect on chip properties and it is already in use in the semi-conductor industry. Furthermore, it causes silicon nanowires of particularly high quality to "sprout" at relatively low temperatures, around 450 degrees C, which is a precondition in keeping the lid on process costs.
"The new process fulfils the most important criteria for the production of silicon nanowires on an industrial scale," says Stephan Senz, one of the scientists involved.
In order to break aluminium down into such small particles that fine wires are formed, the researchers heat a thin film on a silicon substrate. The film tears into tiny pieces. Subsequently, the scientists carry out a familiar procedure: they direct silane, a gas containing silicon, onto the surface, where it is converted to elementary silicon on the catalyst particle. The silicon dissolves in the aluminium particle. When the particle cannot absorb any more silicon, it crystallises out again on the underside. This causes a single crystal silicon nanowire, with a diameter of approximately 40 nanometers, to grow, bearing a catalyst particle on its tip.
This promising research on semiconductor nanowires straddles the interface between basic research and technical applications.
"Apart from the possibility of using them in the semiconductor industry, the nanowires are very interesting for basic research, as little is as yet known about their properties and their growth," explains Senz. "If the dimensions were just a little smaller, we would even see quantum effects."
Source: Max Planck Society
In quieter times, sounding the bell of funding big science with big systems tends to resonate further than when ears are already burning with sour economic and national security news. For exascale's future, however, the time could be ripe to instill some sense of urgency....
In a recent solicitation, the NSF laid out needs for furthering its scientific and engineering infrastructure with new tools to go beyond top performance, Having already delivered systems like Stampede and Blue Waters, they're turning an eye to solving data-intensive challenges. We spoke with the agency's Irene Qualters and Barry Schneider about..
Large-scale, worldwide scientific initiatives rely on some cloud-based system to both coordinate efforts and manage computational efforts at peak times that cannot be contained within the combined in-house HPC resources. Last week at Google I/O, Brookhaven National Lab’s Sergey Panitkin discussed the role of the Google Compute Engine in providing computational support to ATLAS, a detector of high-energy particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 22, 2013 |
At some point in the not-too-distant future, building powerful, miniature computing systems will be considered a hobby for high schoolers, just as robotics or even Lego-building are today. That could be made possible through recent advancements made with the Raspberry Pi computers.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
May 15, 2013 |
Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have worked on important computational problems such as collapse of the atomic state, the optimization of chemical catalysts, and now modeling popping bubbles.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.