In my last article on the future of the computer chip; I touched on what Intel and other microprocessor manufacturers would have to do to keep in pace with Moores Law; Intels intends to deliver.|
At the International Electron Devices conference held this week in Washington DC, Intel is planning on laying out their half decade plan. This plan has 3 distinct areas of interest for staying in tune with Moores Law. The plan also deals with the key 2005-2010 timeframe I noted in my last article on the future of the computer chip.
By 2005, new computer chip manufacturing processes are expected to become mainstream. These technologies include IBM's carbon nanotubes, new transistor gates made of some combination of minerals and not copper, and Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography etching in the 75-95 nanometers.
A key factor I see lacking from Intel is the true technological huge step in their plans for the last part of the next decade. IBM on the other hand has it's hands deep in nanotechnology, molecular computers, as does Hewlett Packard. Intel does plan on dealing with 3 main issues for manufacturing computer chips in the last part of the next decade.
Intel plans on addressing the problems facing the shrinking heat producing transistor. First, they plan to use an enhanced IBM technology called SOI (Silicon on Insulator), insulating the heat from transistors. Second, Intels' plans for their "Tetrahertz Transistor" include thicker source and drain substructures of the transistors allowing for better electrical flow.
Lastly, Intel plans to introduce a modified chemical structured gate, the layer of the chip that connects the transistor gate to the above drain and source.
These three proposed changes to Intels' manufacturing are important. Right now, as transistors get faster and faster, heat is becoming more of an issue, because as the transistors get faster, more electrical leakage happens, forcing engineers to add more electricity yeilding more heat. With the proposed changes, Intel can eleaviate the major heat, and electrical leakage while maintaining faster processors and fewer errors.
Is this the end all solution to the 2010 Moores Law problem? Technically it isn't even close; however these changes will surely lead to bigger better ones, and the microprocessor leap of the century. My bet is still on nanotechnology and IBMs' nanotubes look promising. Intel hasn't given up, and their plan should bring them to 2010, but what about beyond?
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