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500GHZ Chip Created


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IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology have reportedly invented first silicon-based chip capable of operating at frequencies above 500 GHz - i.e. 500 billion cycles per second - by cryogenically ?freezing? the chip to 451 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (4.5 Kelvins).

 

Such extremely cold temperatures are found only in outer space, but can be artificially created on Earth using ultra-cold materials such as liquid helium.

 

500 GHz is more than 250 times faster than today?s cell phones that normally operate at approximately 2 GHz. Computer simulations suggest that the silicon-germanium (SiGe) technology used in the chip could eventually support even higher (near-TeraHertz ? 1,000 GHz) operational frequencies even at room temperature.

 

IBM and Georgia Tech researchers have jointly carried out the experiments that are part of a project to explore the ultimate speed limits of silicon-germanium (SiGe) devices, which operate faster at very cold temperatures. The chips used in the research are from a prototype fourth-generation SiGe technology fabricated by IBM on a 200-millimeter wafer. At room temperature, they operated at approximately 350 GHz.

 

Reiterating IBM?s commitment to deliver the insight and innovation that will enable a new generation of high-performance, energy efficient microprocessors, Bernie Meyerson, vice president and chief technologist, IBM Systems and Technology Group, said, ?This groundbreaking collaborative research by Georgia Tech and IBM redefines the performance limits of silicon-based semiconductors.?

 

SiGe is a process technology in which the electrical properties of silicon, the material underlying virtually all modern microchips, are augmented with germanium to make chips operate more efficiently. SiGe enhances performance and reduces power consumption in chips that go into cellular phones and other advanced communication devices.

 

IBM first declared its SiGe technology in 1989, and later introduced SiGe into the industry?s first standard, high-volume SiGe chips in October 1998. Since then, it has shipped hundreds of millions of SiGe chips.

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