IBM Corp. says it has perfected a technique for making faster transistors, opening the door to advanced microprocessors.
The advance, to be reported this week at a conference in Washington, will make long-sought "double-gate" transistors economical in chip manufacturing within five years, said Bijan Davari, IBM's vice president of semiconductor development. As a result, chip performance probably will improve by 30% to 100%, Davari said.
Double-gate transistors help speed and control electrical flow across tiny gaps that create on-off switches so microprocessors can compute.
While advances in materials and chip design continue to produce faster chips, finding economical ways to manufacture the new designs has often been a stumbling block.
Today's chips can hold millions of transistors, each an on-off switch using a single gate to control electron flow. As transistors have shrunk, scientists have found that electron leakage often allowed the transistor to stick in the "on" position.