Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have made detailed 3-D images of a commercially available computer chip. This reportedly marks the first time a non-destructive method has visualized—clearly, without distortions or deformations—the paths of a chip’s internal wiring (just 45 nm wide) and its 34-nm-high transistors. It is a major challenge for manufacturers to determine if the structure of their chips ultimately conforms to specifications.
In their experiment, the researchers examined a small piece that they had cut out of the chip. This sample remained undamaged throughout the measurement. The researchers conducted the experiments at the PSI Swiss Light Source (SLS) and recently reported their results in the journal Nature.