IBM Plots Path to Denser Chips

By Staff  |  Posted 2006-02-21

IBM researchers say they have found a way to shrink microprocessors and other silicon chips by more than two thirds without requiring fundamentally more expensive process technologies.

The company claims it has created "the smallest, high-quality line patterns ever made," with features measuring 29.9 nanometers, using a variant of standard DUV (deep ultraviolet) chip printing methods.

The research group said the appoach can yield "distinct and uniformly spaced ridges" that are 29.9 nanometers wide, which offers a way to make chips with more than three times the density of todays production chips that have recently attained 90-nanometer features. Additionally, IBM said the technique breaks the 32-nanometer barrier thought to have been limiting the density of chips made with optical lithography chip-printing processes.

For the past 40 years, Intel and other semiconductor manufacturing companies have been able to produce chips with continually increasing density—and hence performance—adhering to a principle popularly known as "Moores law".

Simply stated, Moores law, articulated in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that chip transistor densities tend to double every two years.

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