EEtimes reports that more than 10 papers on the conference schedule are focused on directed self-assembly, a technology that combines lithographically defined substrates and self-assembled polymers. Research has focused on using lithography to alter the surface of a silicon wafer, then adding block co-polymers that assemble themselves into regular arrays along the defined pattern.
This is a long-range lithography technology,” said G. Dan Hutcheson, CEO of market research firm VLSI Technology Inc. Researchers see it as a potential path to the sub-10-nm range, Hutcheson said
In a presentation at SPIE Tuesday (Feb. 23), Nealey said directed self-assembly is not competing with nano-imprint or interference lithography, two other promising alternative lithography technologies. Nealey added that he thinks that all three technologies will be needed in years to come.
But despite its prominence at SPIE and its inclusion on the ITRS, directed self-assembly is clearly a technology still in development.
Nealey and his team are working on fabricating a nano-wire array that can serve as a platform to help them study the effectiveness of their implementation of the technology. “We’re close,” Nealey said.
Nealey also said researchers are developing models that are on the verge of becoming predictive—nearing the stage where they can surmise what polymers will form at what boundary predictions.
“I think we are very close to having things that could be usable in the near future,” said William D. Hinsberg of IBM’s Almaden Research Center, in another paper presentation Tuesday. Hinsberg added that directed self-assembly “is not and never will be a drop-in replacement for lithography.”