The most complex flexible microprocessor to date
Ramsdale, Emre Ozer of Arm Ltd., and their colleagues used indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) to fabricate their thin film transistors. They use traditional techniques and machines to create the devices by depositing different materials layer by layer on a polyimide film.
The team coated the film on a glass backing during the manufacturing process and then peeled it off after the chip was completed. Compared to making silicon chips, this process is simpler and uses lower temperatures. “We can manufacture the chip in a few days instead of weeks for silicon”, Ramsdale said.
With more than 39,000 transistors, the microprocessor is the most complex and flexible manufactured to date, she says. The key to achieving this feat was careful design and testing to downsize transistors and other devices in order to make quality, consistent devices. The chip speed isn’t impressive at 29kHz – silicon transistors run 1000 times faster – but these flexible chips wouldn’t be used in the same applications as silicon.
Top image: Nature