Most microchips are made by using light to create patterns on silicon surfaces-a process requiring sophisticated equipment costing tens of millions of dollars. A cheaper chip-making process involves coating the silicon surface with a polymer, heating the polymer until it softens and then mechanically stamping it with a patterned mold. Chemicals dissolve the stamped polymer where it’s thinnest, exposing the silicon beneath and etching the pattern into it. A drawback: the polymer can be stamped only once, since reheating deforms it.
Researchers at the Seoul National University in Korea may have brought imprint lithography a big step forward. The key development: doing away with the heating step, which they discovered to be unnecessary. Even at room temperature, chemical engineering professor Hong H. Lee showed, the polymer flattens far more under mechanical pressure than had been anticipated. Repeating the process on the same surface with a different mold allows more complex patterning. The technique, still at least two years away from commercial readiness, could drive down the costs of micro and nano devices.
This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI
The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models.
The Biggest Questions: What is death?
New neuroscience is challenging our understanding of the dying process—bringing opportunities for the living.
Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist
An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.
How to fix the internet
If we want online discourse to improve, we need to move beyond the big platforms.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.