New microchip manufacturing technique could pave way for next-gen computers

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Scientists in the UK have developed a new manufacturing technique to produce microchips that they claim hold the potential of creating next-gen computers that are highly efficient and capable.

University of Exeter researchers developed the new technique that they say could revolutionise the production of optoelectronic materials as well as allow us to create computer chips more easily and cheaper than conventional methods. The optoelectronic materials are those that are vital to next generation of renewable energy, security and defence technologies, the researchers said.

For their research, scientists used microfluidics technology, which uses a series of minuscule channels in order to control the flow and direction of tiny amounts of fluid. For this research, the fluid contains graphene oxide flakes, that are mixed together in the channels, to construct the chips. While the graphene oxide flakes are two-dimensional- consisting of length and width only- the research team used a new sophisticated light-based system to drive the assembly of the three-dimensional chip structures.

Crucially, the research team have analysed their methodology to not only confirm the technique is successful, but also to provide a blueprint for others to use to help manufacture the chips.

Professor Monica Craciun, co-author of the paper and Associate Professor of Nanoscience at Exeter added: We are very excited about the potential of this breakthrough and look forward to seeing where it can take the optoelectronics industry in the future.”

Dr Anna Baldycheva, from Exeter’s Centre for Graphene Science and author of the paper said: “This breakthrough will hopefully lead to a revolution in the development of vital new materials for computer electronics. The work provides a solid platform for the development of novel next-generation optoelectronic devices. Additionally, the materials and methods used are extremely promising for a wide range of further potential applications beyond the current devices.”

The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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