Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is teaming with Sematech (Austin, TX) to develop a new material for the next generation of high-performance semiconductor devices, including advanced microprocessors. Through the $1.5 million project, collaborators will investigate mesoporous silica as an improved insulating material between metal conduction lines on semiconductor chips. The material, porous and uniform in structure, can be formed into thin films, potentially resulting in semiconductor devices that operate at much higher speeds, while consuming less power. Researchers at Pacific Northwest estimate that the new material should result in significant savings in fabrication costs, up to $500 million annually. FAX: (509) 375-2242.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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