schliz lets us know about research out of Princeton on melting away defects on microchips using a laser. The new technique, termed Self-Perfection by Liquefaction (SPEL), was published in the May 4 issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Researchers have traditionally approached chip defects by trying to improve the microchip fabrication process, but this eventually reaches fundamental physical limits to do with random behavior of electrons and photons. By focussing on fixing defects, the new method enables more precise shaping of microchip components, and engineers expect to dramatically improve chip quality without increasing fabrication cost. The before-and-after images are remarkable. Here's a diagram of how the process works.
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