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Argonne National Laboratory to Start Research on Energy-Efficient Microchips

Technology research

Argonne National Laboratory to Start Research on Energy-Efficient Microchips

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory is scheduled to start in early 2024 a research project on the use of atomic layer deposition for manufacturing microchips using a process that consumes 50 times less energy than current chips. 

According to Argonne, the research, which is set for two and a half years, has $4 million in funding from the DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Office program called Energy Efficient Scaling for Two Decades. The project’s academic partners are Stanford University, Northwestern University and Boise State University, Argonne said Thursday.

The lab added that the research team will be led by Jeffrey Elam, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow who founded and directs its ALD research program.

Elam said today’s computers use more than 90 percent of their energy moving data between separate chips of memory and logic functions. He emphasized that low-power microchips have to be developed to avoid the energy wasted as heat in moving data.

Elam also pointed out that ALD technology is an ideal approach for manufacturing ultra-low-power microchips, with the extremely thin film layers it produces “to make microelectronics with great precision.”

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Tags: Argonne National Laboratory atomic layer deposition Department of Energy federal civilian Jeffrey Elam microchips