Technology Roadmaps update & more unusual nano properties

In the June 2018 blog both the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors and the current International Roadmap for Devices and Systems were mentioned in a discussion of the need for roadmaps [Ref. 1].   As the semiconductor industry moves into the smaller single digit nanometers structures there are increasing challenges.  If one assumes that there needs to be a tolerance on 10% deviation from the straightness of the lines (it’s actually less), something new comes into play.    If one has a 3nm dimension, a 10% tolerance would imply a 0.3nm deviation.   The issue that will arise is that the dimensions of the molecules of material used to form the lines is roughly 0.5nm.  To achieve the 0.3nm tolerance would require being able to construct the arrangement of the molecules in such a manner that there would be no misalignment.  Two issues with this.  The first is that we do not have the technology to create such an exacting structure.  The second, and more important, is that we are unable to measure to this accuracy with the precision and speed required for manufacturing. 

In so research that was done at the University of Texas at Austin, there are some unusual properties observed.  A rotation of two layers of graphene by 1.12 degrees causes electrons to behave in strange ways.  [Ref. 2]  Electrons start moving 100 times more slowly than previously.  These strange properties of layered 2-D materials appears to result from interactions.  Part of this effort is directed at developing an understanding of high temperature superconductivity.  This concept was first identified theoretically and dismissed as not a real occurrence.  Due to the difficulty in developing and measuring an experiment, it was not expected to be demonstrated.  The researchers at the University of Texas developed an experimental configuration that permitted the evaluating an observation of the strange properties. 

Additional work has been published on using gold nanotubes and IR light to possible treat asbestos related cancer.  Work done at the University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds demonstrated that gold nanotubes tuned to have strong IR absorption and enter mesothelioma cells.  Heating the gold particles destroys the cancer.  Work on gold nanoparticles and IR heating for a method of destroying cancer cells has been ongoing since the early 2000s.  The application of the nanotubes permits the penetration of the mesothelioma cells.  So the attachment challenge can be solved.  IR radiation and gold nanoparticles is one method of destroying the cancer cells that has been proven.  With the ability to attach to the cancer provides the potential for a means of eliminating these specific cells. 

The last item in this month’s blog is not necessarily nano but intriguing.  Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada have created an experiment to demonstrate that hot water actually does freeze faster than cold water [Ref. 4].  While the actual experiment did not create the frozen water, the experiment demonstrated the process of molecule activity that leads to the conclusion that the warmer water has more molecular activity that causes the distribution of the warmer liquid to move more rapidly and distribute the temperature over a larger area more quickly than cold water. 


  1. June 2018 blog

About Walt

I have been involved in various aspects of nanotechnology since the late 1970s. My interest in promoting nano-safety began in 2006 and produced a white paper in 2007 explaining the four pillars of nano-safety. I am a technology futurist and is currently focused on nanoelectronics, single digit nanomaterials, and 3D printing at the nanoscale. My experience includes three startups, two of which I founded, 13 years at SEMATECH, where I was a Senior Fellow of the technical staff when I left, and 12 years at General Electric with nine of them on corporate staff. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from James Madison University, and a B.S. in Physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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