Researchers at Intel and the British R&D outfit Qinetiq have been slaving over their cauldrons to whip up new semiconducting compounds that they hope will replace silicon one day. The latest candidate, using Indium and Antimony seems to be a step in the right direction, as it bumps transistor speed by 50% and lowers power consumption by a factor of 10 when compared with today's transistor technology.
Intel Corp. is trying out new material in an effort to boost chip performance in the next decade.
Researchers at the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker have made strides in replacing silicon—which for decades has been the backbone of chip manufacturing—with a compound semiconductor made from a blend of the elements Indium and Antimony.
Intel has been working with UK firm Qinetiq Ltd. to add the new materials inside transistors it is designing for introduction in 2015 or later.
The effort being conducted inside Intel's Components Research Lab could potentially help Intel introduce higher-performing, power-efficient chips during the latter half of the next decade, Intel said on Wednesday in a paper presented at IEDM (the International Electron Devices Meeting) in Washington.
"It's a substantial improvement and we think it can be used for logic [or processors such as the Pentium] and provide some substantial improvements for end users," said Rob Willoner, a technology analyst in Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, based in Hillsboro, Ore. "Imagine what 10 times less power [consumption] can do for notebook batteries or data centers."
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Yet another weapon in the arsenal to combat Moore's law with, eh? As to when Intel believe they'll need to introduce the new compound, I'm sure most of us would say the sooner the better. Who wouldn't want the speed and power consumption benefits it offers?
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