ELuminating: company innovates chip technology
Walter E., CTO of ELume, holds a 300 mm wafer with custom multiple coatings applied by spin technology improving high speed semiconductors, and like devices.
The chief technical officer of ELume, Southern California microchip foundry, rifles through a tray of glass and silicon wafers etched with microscopic electronics. A molecular sieve, reusable biosensor chips, hundreds of thousands of microscopic mirrors for flat panel projection displays--each represents months of work and a good measure of fun for the six-employee company.
"You want to see poetry in motion, I’ll show it to you," said Walter E., positioning a finely etched wafer under a microscope. "I can look at it a million times and never get tired of it," he added later. "It’s a city... It’s a living world if you can become an electron for a moment" and mentally traverse the microscopic paths.
ELume does process development and short runs of prototypes for the semiconductor and related industries, specializing in unusual techniques and materials. Many of its customers have SBIR, or NSF or NIST grants from the government, providing an opportunity to work on challenging projects that are interesting, if not always practical. Other customers are more traditional semiconductor companies looking for innovative ways to improve their products.
Newly discovered properties of bismuth telluride hold promise for spintronic quantum computing.
Bismuth Telluride Valley doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but a new discovery may mean the end of silicon chips. After decades of using Bi2Te3 for its thermoelectric properties, researchers have discovered new properties of the material that paves the way for bismuth telluride chips constructed to power quantum computers. [ Read more ]
IBM Research and Caltech have announced a breakthrough that could lead to powerful but tiny computer chips, using DNA. The self-assembling origami structures could reduce chip production costs and resolve key semiconductor challenges as chip sizes drop below 22nm. The IBM and Caltech breakthrough with DNA appears to go beyond Moore's law. [ Read more ]