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Environmentally-Friendlier Chip Etching

The conventional method of making computer chips involves etching the circuit pathways on copper via an acid bath. This is, as you may imagine, a fairly nasty bit of business, involving materials hazardous to the environment and to human health. The UK firm QinetiQ has come up with a clever alternative, using an ink which attracts metals from a solution, allowing the circuit pathways to "grow" on the chip rather than be carved from it. The developers claim that not only does the method non-toxic, it costs 50% of the current etching method. QinetiQ (and I will pay vast sums to anyone who can strangle this new last-letter-capitalized naming meme in its crib) used to be DERA, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, sort of the UK's version of DARPA; looks like they've come up with a pretty significant breakthrough.

(Via engadget)


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