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11/4/2005 10:48:52 PM
Arrowhead and Duke University Begin Work on Nanotubes to Replace Copper, the Semiconductor Industry's Weakest Link

Arrowhead Research Corp., a diversified nanotechnology company, announced today that it will work with Duke University and Dr. Jie Liu, a leading nanotube expert, to develop nanotube-based interconnects as a replacement for copper in computer chips. Arrowhead has agreed to provide approximately $680,000 in funding over the next two years to develop Dr. Liu's technology. In exchange, Arrowhead will have the exclusive right to license the resulting intellectual property and commercialize the process developed at Duke.

"There is a burning need in the semiconductor industry for a new material to replace copper interconnects. We believe the Duke team has a unique solution to this problem," said R. Bruce Stewart, Arrowhead's president. "Our intention is to fund development of a CMOS compatible process at Duke over the next two years, and then partner with device manufacturers to integrate carbon nanotube-based interconnects into their manufacturing processes."

As consumer demand grows for smaller and faster chips, copper interconnects become more difficult and costly to fabricate. Also, copper's structural and electrical properties intrinsically degrade at smaller scales. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors identifies the interconnect problem as one of the major roadblocks standing in the way of future chip fabrication.

A phenomenon known as electromigration threatens the reliability of nanometer-size copper interconnects. Electromigration causes internal and external cavities that lead to wire failure. Copper burns out at one million amps per square centimeter while nanotubes can carry up to a billion amps per square centimeter. Bundles of densely packed nanotubes can also have substantially lower resistance than copper. Although several players in the semiconductor industry have identified nanotubes as a prime candidate to replace copper, substantial challenges remain in synthesizing the materials and integrating them into chips.

"To our knowledge, corporate research groups have encountered recurring problems in the manufacturing strategies they have pursued," said Mr. Stewart. "We believe Dr. Liu and his research team at Duke have a completely different approach that could enable large volume manufacturing of nanotube interconnects in future chips."

This investment is the latest in a series that furthers Arrowhead's business model of funding university nanotech research and guiding it to the marketplace.

Other Headlines from Arrowhead Research Corporation ...
 - Arrowhead Research Increases Ownership in Ablaris to 64%
 - Arrowhead Increases Investment in RNAi Subsidiary Calando Pharmaceuticals
 - Arrowhead Subsidiary Unidym, Inc. Acquired by Wisepower Co., Ltd. for up to $140 Million Earn-Out Plus $5 Million Upfront
 - Arrowhead Starts New Subsidiary, Ablaris Therapeutics, to Commercialize Anti-Obesity Technology
 - Arrowhead CEO Provides Perspective on $4.5 million Alliance Between Subsidiary Unidym and Samsung Electronics

Other Headlines from Duke University ...
 - Smaller Is Better in the Viscous Zone
 - Light on Silicon Better than Copper?
 - Sneaking Spies Into A Cell's Nucleus
 - Stretched Molecule Ends Up Shorter Than It Started
 - New Architectures of Nano-Brushes Developed

More Nanotubes Headlines ...
 - Free-standing single walled carbon nanotube thin films
 - Carbon Nanotubes Market - SWCNTs and MWCNTs Market Worth US$3.3 Billion by 2016 - Market Research
 - Bayer MaterialScience strengthens position in carbon nanotubes
 - New desalination process using carbon nanotubes
 - Ultra fast photodetectors out of carbon nanotubes

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