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Intel and AMD sport new materials after a 40 year wait!
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 27 January 2007 09:44

Chip companies entering their metal period
By Tom Krazit
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: January 26, 2007, 9:01 PM PST

The chip industry is changing the recipe for its transistors to continue improving performance for another generation.

For almost 40 years, chipmakers have been building transistor gates--the basic switch in a transistor--out of silicon. But Intel, IBM and Advanced Micro Devices now plan to introduce new materials for transistor gates that significantly cut power leakage while dramatically improving performance, company executives said this week in separate announcements.

Silicon Valley will not have to be renamed, as silicon remains the basic material for the chip and that's not changing anytime soon. However, the gates themselves will now be made out of metal, and a thin layer that sits between the gate and the rest of the transistor--called a gate oxide--will also use a different building block.

"When you've been using silicon dioxide and polysilicon gates for 40 years and make that jump to a different set of materials, and surpass that performance, it's quite an achievement," said Mark Bohr, an Intel senior fellow and director of the company's advanced transistor research.

Intel plans to use the materials in its Penryn family of chips scheduled for introduction later this year and built with Intel's 45-nanometer manufacturing technology. It demonstrated systems running on those chips on Thursday for a group of reporters and analysts.... More

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