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Design and Construction of Elements of a Hybrid Molecular Electronic Retina-Cortex Structure

Objective

We will investigate how to make three-dimensional, self-aligning, molecular connections ("wires") between circuits on separate, closely spaced layers. Special test rigs will be used to measure electrical signals passing through molecular wires joining two (eventually three) layers, as a function of layer alignment and spacing. Each test chip will have a regular pattern of small conducting pads: the final version will have 2 micrometer (um) sized pads on a 25 um spacing. High density conducting connection using regularly spaced holes between both sides of a chip will also be examined.
The project will provide:
1. a way to improve the density of conventional semiconductor circuits,
2. A way to improve long-distance connections between nanoscale processors,
3. The enabling technology for a retina-cortex unit running at 10 teraOps (10[13] ops/sec) in a 25mm cube.
We will investigate how to make three-dimensional, self-aligning, molecular connections ("wires") between circuits on separate, closely-spaced layers. Special test rigs will be used to measure electrical signals passing through molecular wires joining two (eventually three) layers, as a function of layer alignment and spacing. Each test chip will have a regular pattern of small conducting pads: the final version will have 2 micrometer (um) sized pads on a 25 um spacing. High density conducting connection using regularly spaced holes between both sides of a chip will also be examined.
The project will provide:
1. a way to improve the density of conventional semiconductor circuits,
2. A way to improve long-distance connections between nano-scale processors,
3. The enabling technology for a retina-cortex unit running at 10 teraOps (10[13] ops/sec) in a 25mm cube.

OBJECTIVES
The long-term objective is to develop an enabling technology for three-dimensional computer structures, whether micro-, nano-, or molecular-electronic. The specific objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of very high-density, three-dimensional molecular "wires" between closely-space chips or other types of layer.
The technical objectives are:
1. to develop four different 3D molecular connection technologies
2. to measure and compare their performance using the same test structures
3. to investigate the long-term reliability of such connections
4. to investigate closely-spaced through-chip connections and thinning of circuit substrates
5. to determine the maximum number of devices per unit volume
6. to devise computer structures using this new 3D connection technique.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
We propose a three-year programme to examine the feasibility of connecting two or more closely-spaced semiconductor layers with intercalated molecular wiring layers. Four types of molecular wire technology will be developed by three separate groups. In order to provide a common testing standard, the same type of test rig and "test chips" will be used to measure conductivity and other electrical properties as a function of the alignment and spacing between the semiconductor layers.
There will be five work packages:
WP1 - MOLECULAR WIRES: Design, construction and testing of molecular wires.
WP2 - TEST CHIPS: Design and construction of silicon test chips and silicon, quartz or glass top-layer assemblies.
WP3 - TEST RIG: Design and construction of test rigs.
WP4 - ELECTRONIC LAYER FABRICATION: Investigation of factors relating to chip fabrication (wafer thinning methods, high-density through-chip connections, chemical compatibility between semiconductor and molecular elements).
WP5 - THREE-D STRUCTURES: How to assemble a layered structure; fault-tolerant structures; low-power architectures.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
3, Rue Michel-ange
75794 Paris Cedex 16
TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT
Netherlands
Address
Julianalaan 134
2628 BL Delft
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
United Kingdom
Address
Woodhouse Lane
LS2 9JT Leeds
UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE
United Kingdom
Address
Richmond Street 16
G1 1XQ Glasgow