Intel Researchers Create Tri-Gate Transistors

According to Macworld, Intel's researchers have created tri-gate transistors that better insulate circuits, which could enable either a 45% increase in speed or a 35% reduction in power used when compared to today's processors. This will help Intel to extend Moore's law, which states that that number of transistors on a chip would double about every two years, or in layman's terms, chip processing power will approximately double every two years.

Chip manufacturers have had difficulty extending Moore's law as chip geometry shrinks below 90 nanometers and frequencys escalate to beyond 2 Ghz. In both cases, chips begin to leak more electricity and run less efficiently. One solution is to build multi-core chips, which the industry as a whole has already adopted.

However, different chip manufacturers are playing with other methods of further increasing chip efficiency below 90 nm. IBM is placing research money into carbon nanotubes, and has made some impressive breakthroughs.

For its part, Intel is placing its bets on tri-gate transistors.

"Compared to carbon nanotubes, it is far easier to build," [Mike Mayberry, director of components research and VP of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group] said. "The problem with carbon nanotubes is that no one knows how to put them in a particular spot except by moving them one at a time. Even our smallest chips have millions of transistors, so that is an insurmountable challenge. [...] [Tri-gate transistors] will be an option for chips somewhere beyond 45 nm -- in the 32 or 22 nm mode -- so that gives us confidence we can continue scaling Moore's Law into the next decade," said Mayberry.

Macworld states that Intel could begin using the technology by 2010.