The CAS-Croucher Funding Scheme for Joint Laboratories is the outcome of an agreement between The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Croucher Foundati...
Carbon nanotubes as filling material in integrated circuits
Integrated circuit feature size is shrinking rapidly and the smallest features of all are the vias that connect layers. Performance and yield depend on achieving a reliable connection through the via and this project investigated the feasibility of using carbon nanotubes as a filler to improve conduction.
Philip C.H. Chan
As integrated circuit size shrinks, the functioning of existing material is reduced. Chan and his colleagues at the Institute of Microelectrics, Chinese Academy of Sciences are looking for new materials as replacements.
Chan, an expert in integrated circuits, says it is only logical to consider nanomaterials, and carbon nanotubes are one of the common forms.
Straight carbon nanotubes has tremendous properties but carbon in pure form is very difficult to manipulate. The next best thing, according to Chan, is to use composite materials, like copper (Cu).
Electromigration measures how much current a conductor can carry without melting. With copper carbon the reliability is four times that over copper wires. Material of this kind is primarily applied to high end integrated circuits, such as those found in iPhones or Samsung handsets that require conductors to carry a high volume of current.
The research is still in the early stages. Although the science behind the concept has been established, Chan says that applying the theory to practical production or manufacturing is still a long way off.