Silicon chips now able to bend and fold

"Normally fragile and brittle silicon chips have been made to bend and fold by US scientists"

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Bendy Silicon
Silicon chips have been made to flex.
 
Normally fragile and brittle silicon chips have been made to bend and fold, paving the way for a new generation of flexible electronic devices.

The stretchy circuits could be used to build advanced brain implants, health monitors or smart clothing.  The complex circuits consist of concertina-like folds of ultra-thin silicon bonded to sheets of rubber.

Writing in the journal Science, the US researchers say the chip's performance is similar to conventional electronics.

"Silicon microelectronics has been a spectacularly successful technology that has touched virtually every part of our lives," said Professor John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the authors of the paper.

But, he said, the rigid and fragile nature of silicon made it very unattractive for many applications, such as biomedical implants.

"In many cases you'd like to integrate electronics conformably in a variety of ways in the human body - but the human body does not have the shape of a silicon wafer."
Professor Zhenqiang Ma of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who also works on flexible silicon circuitry, said the new research was an "important step".

"Completely integrated, extremely bendable circuits have been talked about for many years but have not been demonstrated before.  This is the first one."
 

Building bendable chipsSilicon wave

The chips build on previous work by Professor Roger's lab.

In 2005, the team demonstrated a stretchable form of single-crystal silicon.
 
"That demonstration involved very thin narrow strips of silicon bonded to rubber," explained Professor Rogers.  "At a microscopic level these strips had a wavy structure that behaved like "accordion bellows", allowing stretching in one direction."

"The silicon is still rigid and brittle as an intrinsic material but in this accordion bellows geometry, bonded to rubber, the overall structure is stretchable,"
 
Using the material, the researchers were able to show off individual, flexible circuit components such as transistors.

The new work features complete silicon chips, known as integrated circuits (ICs), which can be stretched in two directions and in a more complex fashion.

"In order to do this, we had to figure out how to make the entire circuit in an ultra-thin format," explained Professor Rogers.
The team has developed a method that can produce complete circuits just one and a half microns (millionths of a metre) thick, hundreds of times thinner than conventional silicon circuits found in PCs.
 
"What that thinness provides is a degree of bendability that substantially exceeds anything we or anyone else has done at circuit level in the past," he said.
 
 
 
 

 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the full story visit here.
 
So with this technology now a reality perhaps in the not too distant future we'll start seeing devices using it or similar such as the content in the video of this article.
 
The other obvious benefits have already been mentioned in the medical aspect of what this tech could offer.
 
Discuss in our forum.
 
 
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Most Recent Comments

25-03-2008, 19:34:25

PCFlip
So I would like to get your guys feedback on full coverage blocks versus just cooling the gpu. I am planning on getting 2 3870x2 and water cooling them, now part me wants to go with Full Coverage blocks because well they are pretty and it is nice that it cools the memory as well so less fans and what not but this also at least from what I have seen lowers the possible overclock and seeing how there will be two of these card in series the temps will get pretty high so Im thinking it would be better to go with just cooling the four gpus and passive cooling the memory.

So ya what are your guys thoughts?

26-03-2008, 06:05:06

Aqua-Pc's
We would recommend full cover blocks tbh

26-03-2008, 11:03:24

PCFlip
ya part of me is still leaning towards me but the other part of me wants to go with just GPU blocks as most of the time you can re-use them when you upgrade cards but with full coverage blocks typically you cant.

26-03-2008, 11:13:45

Jim
If you're thinking about an X2, I think you'll be hard pushed to find a GPU block that will work on it. They have non-standard mounting holes.

Best i've seen so far is a pair of Swiftech MCW-30 (northbridge blocks) on them. But obviously the barb orientation is all wrong. Stick with FC block for the 3870X2 tbh.

26-03-2008, 11:19:37

PCFlip
well I know when I contacted D-Tek that they are working on a Uni-Sink and mounting plate for the 3870x2 but to be honest by the time I do get buying the hardware the 4###x2 will probably be out lol so I will look for blocks for that model more then likely.

26-03-2008, 11:22:48

Jim

well I know when I contacted D-Tek that they are working on a Uni-Sink and mounting plate for the 3870x2 but to be honest by the time I do get buying the hardware the 4###x2 will probably be out lol so I will look for blocks for that model more then likely.



Yeah it'd be interesting to see how they work out. The MCW60 covers over a few of the memory IC's preventing any kind heatsink being placed on them. Maybe the D-Tek is smaller?
Reply
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