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IN BRIEF / Technology

Advanced Micro Shrinks Transistors

September 11, 2002|Reuters

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said it had shrunk key elements of the semiconductor, a development that could lead to a chip with 1 billion transistors.

Transistors are the tiny switches that are the basic element of a microprocessor and, when they are flipped on and off in a blindingly rapid series of sequences, give a chip its computational power. Microprocessors are the brains that run personal computers.

AMD, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said that it had manufactured the smallest double-gate transistors to date using industry-standard technology. The gate of the transistor, across which electrical current flows to turn the switch on, measures 10 nanometers, or 10 billionths of a meter.

AMD, the chief rival to No. 1 Intel Corp. in the market for microprocessors, said that the tiny double-gate transistors could mean that a chip that now holds 100 million transistors could hold about a billion of the tiny transistors.

A double-gate transistor effectively doubles the electrical current that can be passed through it.

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