Computer maker IBM has gone into partnership with glue specialist 3M to create ‘skyscraper’ computers—building huge sandwiches of silicon chips by sticking layer after layer of chips covered with tiny components together. It’s hoped the process will create smartphones and PCs up to 1,000 times faster than today’s—which may be on the market as early as 2013.
What’s the Big Idea?
Today’s attempts at piling chips vertically—known as 3D packaging—face problems from overheating. New glues could potentially conduct heat through a stack of densely-packed chips and away from logic circuits that could be burnt out by the heat. The research aims to create ‘stacks’ of up to 100 layers of silicon. Crucial to the development of the new chips will be techniques that allow IBM to slather glue over 100s of chips at once.