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We are inspired by the beauty and simplicity of self-organizing materials and the promise they hold for enabling continued improvements in semiconductor technology. Self assembly is the spontaneous arrangement of individual elements into regular patterns; under suitable conditions, certain materials self organize into useful nanometer-scale patterns of importance to high-performance microelectronics applications. Polymer self assembly is a nontraditional approach to patterning integrated circuit elements at dimensions and densities inaccessible to traditional lithography methods. We review here our efforts in IBM to develop and integrate self-assembly processes as high-resolution patterning alternatives and to demonstrate targeted applications in semiconductor device fabrication. We also provide a framework for understanding key requirements for the adoption of polymer self-assembly processes into semiconductor technology, as well as a discussion of the ultimate dimensional scalability of the technique.
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