Seeing Invisible Problems

Chemistry professor Oliver Chyan has developed a way for microchip manufacturers to view flaws in their chips that were previously unobservable.

"Currently, if one part of a chip doesn't work, chip makers will try various fixes without really understanding the underlying chemistry problem," Chyan says.

But through highly sensitive infrared spectroscopy, it is possible to see which chemical bonds succeed and which fail in the nanometer-size domain. This gives chip makers the ability to focus their designs using reliable hard data.

Chyan adds that the new technology will revolutionize how chips are manufactured and lead to smaller chips and faster computing times.