Using a micropipette nozzle the researchers can make tiny wire bonds to connect integrated chips using a direct-write technique (Image: L. Brian Stauffer)
The miniaturization of electronics has seen the wiring of connections between chips and circuit boards become a substantial obstacle. Such connections are traditionally made from pre-fabricated metal wires that connect to a designated bonding pad on a chip. However, many microelectronic devices are much smaller than the required 50-by-50 micron square bonding site, prohibiting integrated functions on a very small scale. Engineers at the University of Illinois have now developed a novel direct-writing method for manufacturing metal interconnects that could enable the further shrinking of integrated circuits and expand microelectronics.