AMD are now using strained silicon in their processors to improve performance. The technology has been incorporated into the company’s new 90nm chips and will soon find its way into the company’s 130nm products later this year.
Strained silicon is made when the metal’s atoms are pulled apart to increase the space between them. I suppose the scientists’ naming department had the day off when that was invented. The increase in atomic space means that the electrons carrying the signals through the silicon can move faster.
IBM and Intel already use a form of strained silicon in their chips, but AMD say that their technique is different. There have been recent developments in silicon straining, and the most recent development in this field is uniaxial strained silicon, where it has only been stretched in one direction. Perhaps AMD are using this technique.