Electronic components aren't just becoming ever more powerful, they’re also taking up less and less space. The chips that need to be joined together are piling up in a tiny area. Up to now, they've had to be soldered or sometimes bonded together. The problem is that foreign matter such as solder reduces conductivity and can break away again at higher temperatures. Certain contacts also need to be made in a protected atmosphere or welded using ultrasound. Professor Helmut Schlaak and his research group at the Institute of Electromechanical Design at Technische Universität Darmstadt have therefore designed a completely new, innovative and patent-protected technology that deals with these drawbacks. The market-ready NanoWired process is now being premiered at HANNOVER MESSE 2017.
The new technology is based on nanowires that are laid like a lawn over the electronic components that are to be connected. If two of these components are then pressed together, the wires hook up in the same way as the kind of hook-and-loop fasteners commonly found on outdoor clothing, for example. The difference is that the connection is permanent. Depending on requirements, the Darmstadt researchers can apply up to several billion nanowires per square centimeter. The hook-and-loop bond withstands even high temperatures and is extremely conductive both for heat and for electronic pulses. The technology is also easy to use, doesn’t require any special laboratory conditions and is already sufficiently well-developed that it can be used in industrial applications. Two high-profile semiconductor producers and a major sensor manufacturer have already been won over by the potential of the invention, and NanoWired looks set to be spun off soon.