Chips- you can’t eat just one! (with apologies to Lay’s)   Leave a comment

Here’s a few images of the various silicon devices we have extracted so far. First, an overview shot showing the range of sizes:

Two of the large chips are a DRAM and Pentium 4- these are about 1 cm on a side. The smallest is perhaps 0.25mm on a side- here’s a magnified view (epi-brightfield):

Most likely this is a transistor, possibly a MOSFET. The two Gold contacts are where it connects to the rest of the circuit board, and several distinct layers of metal can be observed. Because this is reflected brightfield illumination, the colors are due to properties of the device (other imaging methods can ‘colorize’ the object in specific ways). Another example of a diode is here:

Functionally, the two devices are similar- but there are also some obvious differences between the two. What the ‘structure-function’ relationship is for these two devices is not known to us, but in any case these devices are fairly simple.

By contrast, this is a larger chip from a cell phone:

which has a lot of really cool looking inductors. This image and the next are both epi-brightfield.

and this is a reflected darkfield image of the same region:

This is clearly a fairly complex circuit.

Here are some images taken approaching the magnification limit of imaging- these images are a small portion of a DRAM, taken at 160x magnification:

The top image was taken using epi-DIC imaging, while the lower image is epi-brightfield. The periodic ‘wires’ are spaced 12 pixels across, which corresponds to 0.4 microns- these images are near the fundamental limit of imaging systems.


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