SAN JOSE, Calif. IBM Corp. claims that it has developed the long-awaited improvements to transistor technology: high-k dielectrics and metal gates for use in logic chips.
Working with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and its other development partners, Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., IBM has found a way to construct a critical part of the transistor with a new high-k/metal gate material, clearing a path toward chip circuitry that is smaller, faster and more power-efficient than previously possible.
The high-k and 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 compared to its predecessor, enhancing the transistor's function while also allowing the size of the transistor to be shrunk beyond limits being reached today.
The technology can be incorporated into existing chip manufacturing lines with minimal changes to tooling and processes, making it economically viable.
IBM has inserted the technology into its state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing line in East Fishkill, N.Y. and will apply it to products with chip circuits as small as 45-nm starting in 2008.
NEC Corp. is moving high-k into production, while Intel Corp. has disclosed the technology as well.