Intel: New Material to Help Chips Run Cooler, Use Less Energy

Dec 07, 2005

Intel Corporation today announced development of a new, ultra-fast, yet very low power prototype transistor using new materials that could form the basis of its microprocessors and other logic products beginning in the second half of the next decade.

Intel and QinetiQ researchers have jointly demonstrated an enhancement-mode transistor using indium antimonide (InSb) to conduct electrical current. Transistors control the flow of information/electrical current inside a chip. The prototype transistor is much faster and consumes less power than previously announced transistors. Intel anticipates using this new material to complement silicon, further extending Moore’s Law.

Significant power reduction at the transistor level, accompanied by a substantial performance increase, could play a crucial role in delivering future platforms to computer users by allowing an increased number of features and capabilities. Considerably less energy used and heat generated could add significant battery life for mobile devices and increase opportunities for building smaller more powerful products.

“The results of this research reinforce our confidence in being able to continue to follow Moore’s Law beyond 2015. As was the case with other Intel technical advancements, we expect these new materials will enhance the future of silicon-based semiconductors,” said Ken David, director of components research for Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group “By providing 50 percent more performance while reducing power consumption by roughly 10 times, this new material will give us considerable flexibility because we will have ability to optimize for both performance and power of future platforms.”

InSb is in a class of materials called III-V compound semiconductors which are in use today for a variety of discrete and small scale integrated devices such as radio-frequency amplifiers, microwave devices and semiconductor lasers.

Researchers from Intel and QinetiQ have previously announced transistors with InSb channels. The prototype transistors being announced today, with a gate length of 85nm, are the smallest ever, at less than half the size of those disclosed earlier. This is the first time that enhancement mode transistors have been demonstrated. Enhancement mode transistors are the predominant type of transistor used in microprocessors and other logic. These transistors are able to operate at a reduced voltage, about 0.5 volts – roughly half of that for transistors in today’s chips – which leads to chips with far less power consumption.

“This research is a great example of how QinetiQ, working with other world-leading companies such as Intel, is targeting its research in technologies with commercial potential,” said Tim Phillips, business manager of the Fast Transistors group at QinetiQ.

Details will be provided at the IEDM conference Dec. 5-7, in Washington, D.C., where the formal paper describing this advancement will be delivered. The paper is titled, “85nm Gate Length Enhancement and Depletion mode InSb Quantum Well Transistors for Ultra High Speed and Very Low Power Digital Logic Applications.”

Source: Intel

Explore further: Oculus unveils new prototype VR headset

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers use liquid inks to create better solar cells

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The basic function of solar cells is to harvest sunlight and turn it into electricity. Thus, it is critically important that the film that collects the light on the surface of the cell is designed ...

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

Sep 16, 2014

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

New species of electrons can lead to better computing

Sep 11, 2014

Electrons that break the rules and move perpendicular to the applied electric field could be the key to delivering next generation, low-energy computers, a collaboration of scientists from the University ...

Engineer aims to connect the world with ant-sized radios

Sep 10, 2014

(Phys.org) —A Stanford engineering team has built a radio the size of an ant, a device so energy efficient that it gathers all the power it needs from the same electromagnetic waves that carry signals to ...

Recommended for you

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

10 hours ago

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Tim Cook puts personal touch on iPhone 6 launch

12 hours ago

Apple chief Tim Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in "selfies" and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company's store near his Silicon Valley home.

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

Sep 19, 2014

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

Sep 19, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

User comments : 0