IBM released a new press release, claiming to have developed a nanotechnology to bring self-assembling to conventional chip manufacturing. FabTech cuts through the PR bullshit on their blog and says IBM has likely developed a poruous low-k dielectric that will enter manufacturing in 2009.
The IBM researchers must be cringing once again over big blue's latest press release claiming a breakthrough in self-assembly nanotech air gaps that discuss seashells and snowflakes and the like, but actually fail once again to really tell you what they are actually claiming as a breakthrough in advanced processing.
What I think they are claiming is that they will enter manufacturing in 2009 with a porous low-k dielectric but you wouldn't know it from the pathetic press release that seems to be standard now from IBM. It is a shame really and plain insulting to the researchers.
One of the holy grails in BEOL processing has been to reduce resistance at the interconnect and the best way to do that is to add air. Too much and the stack collapses while the problem of capping without affecting the kappa figures has also proved problematic. In fact a whole host of challenges exist, meaning that such a breakthrough would indeed be impressive.
However, like its high-k and metal gate claims recently (don't ever forget its original low-k material claims many years ago), we will have to wait for some symposium before any meaningful information actually comes out.
Then just sit back and wait for one of the reverse engineering firms to tell us whether a chip touted to incorporate the process actually employs it. Until then, my advice is to go back to sleep.