IBM has created a non-volatile memory using the self-assembly of polymer molecules. In addition, the engineers have demonstrated the compatibility of this nanometer scale activity with conventional sub-micrometer scale semiconductor processing. The engineers used the self-organizing tendency of certain types of polymer molecules to pattern critical device features that are smaller, denser, more precise, and more uniform than can be achieved using conventional methods such as lithography. The polymer patterns the subsequent formation of a silicon nano-crystalline array, which becomes the basis for a variant of conventional flash memory. The techniques might enable future miniaturization and performance improvements for semiconductor devices and expects such self-assembly techniques to be used in pilot production within three to five years.