Intel have announced that they’ve produced a fully functioning memory chip using 35 nanometer transistors. The breakthrough, etching components that are 30% smaller than current processes, should be delivering production chips in 2005 – ensuing that Moore’s Law will hold true for a while yet. This will elicit relief from Intel whose main business is based around the capabilities of copper and silicon devices.
Intel developed special techniques to get round the heat dissipation and power consumption problems encountered with such dense components – such as shutting off areas of the chip that aren’t in use.
In 1965, Intel founder Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors in integrated circuits would double every two years in his paper “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits”– and so far he’s been right. The law is expected to hold true until the end of the decade, by which time silicon and copper chip technology are expected to reach their physical limits. Capacitance and the laws of physics start to interfere with devices at this stage, and it expected that the next big advances will be made using optical and other technologies.
“Intel continues to meet the increasing challenges of scaling by innovating with new materials, processes and device structures,” said Sunlin Chou, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group. “Intel’s 65nm process technology has industry-leading density, performance and power reduction features that will enable future chips with increased capabilities and performance. Intel’s 65nm technology is on track for delivery in 2005 to extend the benefits of Moore’s Law.”