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Intel develops world's smallest, fastest CMOS transistor

28 February 2001 News

Intel researchers have achieved a significant breakthrough by building the world's smallest and fastest CMOS transistor. Intel believes this breakthrough will allow it within the next five to 10 years to build microprocessors containing more than 400 million transistors, running at 10 GHz (10 billion cycles per second) and operating at less than one volt.

The transistors feature structures just 30 nanometres in size and three atomic layers thick.

According to Intel, these new transistors, which control the flow of electrons inside a microchip, could complete 400 million calculations in the blink of an eye or finish two million calculations in the time it takes a speeding bullet to travel one inch.

By aggressively reducing all of the transistor's dimensions, the Intel researchers reduced the gate oxides to just three atomic layers thick. What is significant is that these experimental transistors, while featuring capabilities that are generations beyond the most advanced technologies used in manufacturing today, were built using the same physical structure as in today's computer chips, said Intel.

According to Intel, the most significant thing about transistors is that they are simultaneously small and fast and work at low voltage. Typically you can achieve two of the three but delivering on all facets is a significant accomplishment."

For more information see www.intel.com/research/silicon





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