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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

IBM Claims Chip Breakthrough

Scientists at IBM say they have figured out how to produce smaller and more powerful microchips than previously thought possible.

It is hoped IBM's announcement at San Jose on Monday will mean the creation of miniscule microprocessors, which will save the IT manufacturing sector billions of dollars. The breakthrough revolves around the distance between the circuit-lines chip makers must "draw" onto the surface of a computer processor. IBM scientists declared they can now draw lines on silicon much closer together than ever before.

Current techniques are not expected to work on chips smaller than 32 nanometres. However, staff at IBM Research have created structures on a processor measuring 29.9 nanometres, using a form of deep-ultraviolet optical lithography.

This technology "prints" circuits onto chips in a method similar in principle to the way t-shirt manufacturers stamp images onto material using the silk-screening method.

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