IBM enhances Silicon...

  06/08/2001 3:53:36 AM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
  By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO

From Carbon Nanotubes to perfected use of silicon, IBM has another breakthrough.
  International Business Machines Corp. announced this morning it had made a breakthrough in semiconductor technology that can boost chip speeds by as much as 35 percent, while also reducing power requirements.

  IBM has been making breakthroughs for as long as they've been around, and recently created Carbon Nanotubes - a form of NanoTechnology, and also had an LCD technology breakthrough.

  IBM said it has perfected a way to alter silicon, the basic material used to build microchips, so that it can be stretched, speeding the flow of electrons through the transistors on the chip. One major problem with current silicon in microprocessors is indeed the heat, power consumtion, and increasingly important techniques to speed the flow of electrons between the transistors.

  This new technology uses strong physics in the fact that the natural tendency for atoms inside compounds is to align with each other. Using this knowledge of physics, IBM was able to deposit silicon on top of a substrate with atoms spaced farther apart, resulting in the atoms in silicon stretching to line up with the atoms beneath. This essentially gives the silicon more room to "breath", creates less heat, and allows for faster and easier flow between transitors.

  With the strained and stretched silicon, IBM said, electrons experience less resistance and flow up to 70 percent faster, which can lead to chips that are up to 35 percent faster -- without having to shrink the size of transistors. IBM has however created Carbon Nanotubes, creating transistors extremely small.

  IBM will present details of its strained silicon breakthroughs in two technical papers being presented at the Symposium on VLSI Technology in Kyoto, Japan on June 13, 2001.

  Bijan Davari, vice president of semiconductor development at IBM Microelectronics, said the technology was on an aggressive timetable -- to be available for finished products by 2003.

  "That should give us at least a couple of years' lead over the rest of the industry," he said.

  Davari added that the technology reduces power requirements as well as boosting the performance of the chip.

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