Chips push through nano-barrier
2007 01 27

From: news.bbc.co.uk

New materials have had to be developed to shrink the transistors
The next milestone in the relentless pursuit of smaller, higher performance microchips has been unveiled.
Chip-maker Intel has announced that it will start manufacturing processors using transistors just 45 nanometres (billionths of a metre) wide.

Shrinking the basic building blocks of microchips will make them faster and more efficient.

Computer giant IBM has also signalled its intention to start production of chips using the tiny components.

"Big Blue", which developed the transistor technology with partners Toshiba, Sony and AMD, intends to incorporate them into its chips in 2008.

Intel said it would start commercial fabrication of processors at three factories later this year.

Critical leaks
The development means the fundamental "law" that underpins the development of all microchips, known as Moore's Law, remains intact.

The proposition, articulated by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, states that the number of transistors on a chip could double every 24 months.

The new Intel processors, codenamed Penryn, will pack more than four hundred million transistors into a chip half the size of a postage stamp.

Like current processors, they will come in dual-core and quad-core versions, meaning they will have two or four separate processors on each chip. The company has not said how fast the new devices will run.

The production of 45nm technology has been the goal of chip manufacturers ever since they conquered 65nm transistors.

A transistor is a basic electronic switch. Every chip needs a certain number of them, and the more there are and the faster they can switch, the more calculations chips can do.

For more than 45 years, chip manufacturers have managed to keep up with Moore's Law, shrinking transistor size and packing more and more of them on to chips.

However, past the 65nm barrier the silicon used to manufacture critical elements of the switches known as gate dielectrics no longer performs as it does at larger scales.

As a result, currents passing through the transistors leak and reduce the effectiveness of the chip.

To prevent this, researchers have had to develop new materials to contain the current at such small scales. The class of silicon substitutes are known as high-k metals.

Same 'tools'
Their development and integration into working components was described by Gordon Moore as "the biggest change in transistor technology" since the late 1960s.

The first working chips to incorporate 45nm devices were demonstrated last year by Intel, but they have never been incorporated into commercial products.

Dr Tze-chiang Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM Research, said: "Until now, the chip industry was facing a major roadblock in terms of how far we could push current technology.

"After more than 10 years of effort, we now have a way forward."

The exact recipes for the different high-k metals used by Intel and IBM have not been disclosed, but importantly both firms have said that they could be incorporated into current production technology with minimal effort.

Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6299147.stm



Related Articles
Nano-propellers sent for a spin
Nanotech promise for global poor
The Electron, Nanotechnology, and Solar Power
http://www.redicecreations.com/specialreports/dmulhall.html
MIThril, the next generation research platform for context aware wearable computing


Latest News from our Front Page

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »