*NEWS*IBM SQUEEZES MORE INTO MICROCHIPS

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*NEWS*IBM SQUEEZES MORE INTO MICROCHIPS

 user 2006-02-23 at 9:58:00 am Views: 55
  • #14609

    IBM squeezes more into microchips
    29.9 nanometre-wide lines etched on a circuit compared to 90 nanometre-wide lines (IBM)
    The method allows more circuits to be “printed” on a china
    Researchers at IBM have discovered a way of getting more out of the current method used to make computer chips.
    They
    say they have been able to etch circuits on silicon wafers that are a
    third of the width of those produced using existing technology.
    The technique could lead to smaller and higher capacity chips, and delay a switch to costlier and unproven chip-making methods.
    Current technology is reaching its physical limits as chips become tinier.
    ‘Breathing room’
    The
    semiconductor industry has been looking for ways of etching more
    circuits on silicon wafers to meet the demand for faster and ever more
    powerful chips.
    Handheld devices have been getting more and more powerful
    IBM
    said the new production technique could extend “Moore’s Law”, a guiding
    principle of the technology sector for the last 40 years.
    Intel
    founder Gordon Moore predicted in the late 1960s that the number of
    transistors on a chip, and therefore its processing power, would double
    every 18 months.
    The methods used by the scientists at IBM’s Almaden
    Research Center in San Jose, California, uses a method called
    deep-ultraviolet optical lithography.
    This is essentially the method
    used to etch circuits on chips. The IBM team said they were able to
    “print” circuits that are 29.9 nanometres wide.
    This is about
    one-third of the width of the smallest computer circuits in mass
    production today. One nanometre is a billionth of a metre.
    “Our goal
    is to push optical lithography as far as we can so the industry does
    not have to move to any expensive alternatives until absolutely
    necessary,” said Dr Robert D Allen, manager of lithography materials at
    IBM’s Almaden Research Center.
    “This result is the strongest
    evidence to date that the industry may have at least seven years of
    breathing room before any radical changes in chip-making techniques
    would be needed.”
    IBM said the method could help fuel the push towards more powerful and compact handheld devices.