IBM unveils the fastest silicon transistor
06/25/2001 5:21:41 PM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO
IBM has even faster and smaller transistors using NanoTubes, but this uses Silicon.
IBM Corp. on Monday said it had built the world's fastest silicon transistor, a breakthrough it said would yield microchips within two years that run five times faster than current models.
The main problem facing Silicon, as I have outlined in several other articles at the bottom of this page, is the fact that Silicon in it's current state is about to reach it's limits. Limits in speed, heat, and power consumtion have all faced faster, less heat, and less power microchips using silicon. IBM stepped to the plate and solved this with a Germanium Silicon sandwich.
This new transistor is remarkable not only for its speed and low power demands but because it achieves this using silicon -- the mainstay of the semiconductor world, IBM said. There has been much speculation that more expensive and exotic materials would be needed to continue the fast evolutionary pace of advancements in microchips, and this has proven true, Silicon alone can no longer handle the pace.
"Silicon's future is safe as the preferred medium for chip-making," said Bernard Meyerson, vice president of the IBM Communications Research and Development Center.
Although Silcion will still be the preferred medium, Silicon isn't alone, and with IBM's new method is now using Germanium (Atomic Number 32) - a crystalline alloying and catalyst agent, already used in many semiconductors.
The speed of transistors, minuscule (true/false) switches that process complex instructions, depends largely on how quickly electricity passes through them. The new transistor is based on silicon germanium, or SiGe, which allows electricity to pass faster than with ordinary silicon.
IBM said it expects the transistor to be used to speed up communications equipment. We'll have to see what steps to the plate to solve Silicon in the mainstay CPU's of tomorrow, perhap's it could be Carbon Nanotube transistors which IBM is already working on...
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