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Futuristic interconnects for ICs proposed

Posted: 18 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:interconnect? iitc? air gap? bonding? nanotubes?

At the IEEE International Interconnect Technology Conference (IITC), researchers presented several futuristic technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck in chip design.

Activated bonding, air gap, carbon nanotubes, molecular wires, optical interconnects and spin-wave buses were among the technologies proposed at the event.

During the keynote address, Michel Brillouet, deputy director of France's CAE-LETI, proposed biometric and communications-based schemes for interconnects in chip designs.

One conceptual interconnect methodology is the so-called "bottom-up" or biometric approach. "It's appealing to translate the example of the highly connected central nervous system, which performs chemically-assembled guided growth, and provides a 3D functionally-assembled network," Brillouet said in a paper at IITC.

Another possibility for future interconnects is a shift from current wire-based technology to something that resembles a telecom network within a chipor an adaptive protocol-based communications network. In this case, the CAE-LETI technologist proposed a so-called network-on-chip architecture, which supports routing and switching in the device.

Other interconnect technologies have also been proposed. Japan's Fujitsu Ltd presented a paper on a new breakthrough in carbon nanotubes. In the paper, the company claims that multiwalled carbon nanotubes could offer low resistance in interconnect vias for next-generation chip designs.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a CMOS-compatible approach for fabricating on-chip microfluidic cooling channels using a spin-on sacrificial polymer material at the wafer level. Also, research at the University of Rochester in New York on developing silicon-based building blocks for on-chip optical interconnects is another potential solution. An all-silicon, on-chip optical interconnect is a candidate to overcome the electrical interconnect bottleneck.

The University of California at Los Angeles proposed three technologies for the nanotechnology era: molecular wires, resonant tunneling diodes and a spin-wave bus.

Molecular wires can be self-assembled onto an underlying structure and have "the potential to operate at the single-molecule level," according to UCLA. "The use of tunneling structures demonstrates another possibile solution to the interconnect problem by constructing homogenous cellular antomata-like structures, where all local interconnections are achieved via the tunneling between the nearest nanodevices."

For long-range interconnection, UCLA proposed spin-wave bus technology. "The interconnections between the nanodevices can be accomplished in a wireless manner via the waves," according to UCLA.

- Mark LaPedus

EE Times

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