Physics at Virginia

Hopkins' Research Helps Keep Pace with Moore's Law

Thursday, May 13 2021

A multidisciplinary group that includes Physics alumnus Patrick Hopkins (B.A. 2004), a professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a courtesy appointment in the Physics Department, is inventing a new class of material with the potential to keep chips cool as they keep shrinking in size — and to help Moore’s Law remain true. Their work was recently published in Nature Materials.

“Scientists have been in search of a low-k dielectric material that can handle the heat transfer and space issues inherent at much smaller scales,” Hopkins said. “Although we’ve come a long way, new breakthroughs are just not going to happen unless we combine disciplines. For this project we’ve used research and principles from several fields – mechanical engineering, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering — to solve a really tough problem that none of us could work out on our own.”

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