IBM is working with AMD, Sony and Toshiba to manufacture 45 nanometer microprocessors from 2008, joining Intel in the race to produce the first of a new generation of chips.
Chip firms are already producing the first 65nm chips and the 45nm process allows them to pack more transistors on a chip to make it run faster. The main problem they have to overcome by packing so many on a chip is power leakage and resulting performance degradation.
To achieve the 45nm landmark, IBM has inserted new production technology into its semiconductor manufacturing line in East Fishkill, New York.
TC Chen, vice-president of science and technology at IBM Research, said, "After more than 10 years of effort, we now have a way forward. With chip technology so pervasive in our everyday lives, this work will benefit people in many ways."
The IBM technology, called High-K Metal Gate, substitutes a new material into a critical portion of the transistor that controls its primary on/off switching function. The material provides superior electrical properties.
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