IBM is teaming up with 3M, the parent company of the Scotch Tape and Post-It brands, to develop a special adhesive that would allow the companies to stack semiconductors. The companies are looking to jointly develop microprocessor bricks comprised of 100 stacked layers of separate chips.
The adhesive makes it possible to stack wafers into tightly packaged silicon towers, resulting in chips that are up to 1,000 times faster than conventional microprocessors. Of course, packing so many circuits into a small space generates a lot of heat, so 3M is developing the adhesive to also conduct the heat away from the packet.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to pick up this as a simple 3M component glue stick at your local office supply store to adhere any spare wafers you might have laying around. The chips IBM is sticking together are specially coated in a process "akin to frosting a cake slice-by-slice," according to IBM.
This is not the first rendition of 3D chip architecture we have seen, as Intel introduced its own 3D Transistor technology. We've seen that stacked chip architecture can lead to massively faster processing as the currents, that translate to the zeros-and-ones of data, can instantly jump between circuits.
Now the obligatory pun: Let's hope that IBM and 3M can stick together on this one.
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