3D Printed Computer Chip

In recent years, there has been a general shortage in the production of computer chips. These are used by most of our modern electronic devices. Without these computer chips being produced at nominal levels, it makes it difficult to produce new products that can be sold by technology companies. Fortunately, 3D printing may offer a solution for this issue. In the same way that you can print many other items, it may be possible to do the same with computer chips. Here is an overview of how 3D printing works, and why it would be the perfect fit for resolving the computer chip shortage that we are all facing.

Why Is There Shortage In Computer Chips?

Although there have been random times when computer chips have been unavailable, it is the worldwide pandemic that has caused the current problem. Both businesses and consumers that needed to purchase laptops for working at home found it difficult to do so. This increase in demand was only part of the problem. It also had to do with companies laying off their workforce and streamlining the manufacturing process. In doing so, all businesses that needed computer chips were not able to obtain them at the same levels.

How Are Computer Chips Made?

Also referred to as microprocessors, they utilize a system called lithography. These are produced by adding layers of material, one on top of the other, atop a silicon wafer. The form interconnecting patterns, which is what allows the microchips to perform so many functions. Even when produced in mass quantities, it can take up to four months for the most elaborate microprocessors to be made. Fortunately, this is exactly how 3D printing works. It utilizes materials that are layered, a process that is extremely similar to microchip processing. Therefore, is it possible that 3D printing could resolve our microchip shortages? It could, but there are some logistical problems.

Is It Possible To Use 3D Printing To Make Microchips?

The next phase of 3D printing is focused on developing a more advanced process for producing computer chips. A business called American Semiconductor was actually successful in creating a silicon polymer semiconductor that was flexible. It had a built-in microcontroller, along with memory, which is very similar to what you would expect with a microchip. In addition to this, the manufacturing processes, such as polyjet printing, used for these components are becoming even more advanced. The latest processes enable the production of integrated circuits with gate sizes of less than 10 nm. The most advanced 3D printing processes require the co-deposition of multiple materials. Combined with miniaturization, this process can make parts more affordable for manufacturers.

In the next few years, we may see a focus on the production of computer chips using 3D printing. Due to the similarities in the way that products are manufactured using this 3D process, microchips may be the next product that is mass-produced. If this occurs, it could end all possible shortages that may occur when situations like this arise. For now, we must wait for the technology to become more streamlined and embraced by businesses that can make it economically viable.