Intel Researchers Move Advanced Triple-Gate Transistor Design One Step Closer To Production

(Auszug aus der Pressemitteilung)

KYOTO, Japan, June 12, 2003 – Intel Corporation revealed new details of its

advanced „tri-gate“ transistor design this week at the 2003 Symposia of VLSI
Technology and Circuits in Kyoto, Japan and said that the tri-gate
transistor is moving from research to the development phase. The design of
this novel three-dimensional (3-D) transistor will allow the company to
continue to drive Moore’s Law and to deliver higher performance, lower power
processors in the future.

Additional disclosures were made on the company’s research efforts to
develop digital CMOS radios using its low-cost manufacturing technology
process and to design low power, high-performance circuits.
Fast transistors are one of the key building blocks of high-performance
microprocessors. Since originally announced last year, Intel researchers
have successfully shrunk the size of the tri-gate transistor (measured by
the gate length) from 60 nanometers (nm) to 30 nm. Transistors with a
smaller gate switch on and off faster, ultimately enabling faster

„Our latest research indicates that the scalability, performance and
excellent manufacturability of our tri-gate transistor makes it a strong
contender for production as early as 2007 on our 45-nm process technology,“
said Sunlin Chou, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s
Technology and Manufacturing Group. „The results place non-planar, 3-D
transistor structures among the promising nanotechnology innovations that we
will use to extend silicon scaling and Moore’s Law well into the future.“
Intel’s tri-gate transistor employs a novel 3-D gate structure, like a
raised plateau with vertical sides, which allows electrical signals to be
sent along the top of the transistor gate and along both vertical sidewalls.
This effectively triples the space available for electrical signals to
travel, like turning a one-lane road into a three-lane highway, but without
taking up more area. This gives the tri-gate transistor much higher
performance than today’s planar (flat) transistors.
Intel’s tri-gate transistor is designed so that it can be manufactured in
high volume, a factor that will be key in moving it from the development
stage into production. The tri-gate transistor design also addresses the
growing current leakage problem that the industry faces as CMOS devices are
made ever smaller. Due to its unique structure, the tri-gate transistor’s
leakage is far less than that of a planar transistor of the same size. Intel
has moved the tri-gate transistor design from research to the development
phase, and experimental devices have been successfully manufactured at
Intel’s 300-mm wafer fabrication facility (Fab D1C) in Hillsboro, Ore.

Intel CMOS Radio Research

Also at VLSI, Intel unveiled new research results in the area of silicon
radios, where the company seeks to accelerate the convergence of computing
and communication technologies by building radios in the same low-cost CMOS
manufacturing process used for its high-volume, high-yield microprocessors
and chipsets. In the future, these radios are expected to be integrated into
Intel chips so that any device powered by one of those chips would have
wireless communication capabilities.
Intel researchers disclosed that they successfully developed a high-quality
oscillator operating at 5GHz (the frequencies at which 802.11a operates) on
the company’s CMOS process. This same 5GHz signal can also be used to
generate signals for the 2.4GHz band (the frequency at which 802.11b and g
operate). The oscillator is likened to a pacemaker for the radio and
determines the frequency at which signals are transmitted and received.
Additionally, Intel developed a synthesizer running at 10GHz that will
enable radios to switch between channels significantly faster than existing
solutions. This ability to quickly switch to and listen on channels will
help a radio locate and utilize the best spectrum in a given environment.

Ultimately, this could result in more bandwidth, extended coverage and
higher reliability for users‘ wireless connections.
These core radio components are typically developed exclusively using analog
process technology. Intel, however, used its 0.18-micron digital CMOS
process to develop the oscillator and synthesizer. By building these analog
radio components with a digital manufacturing process, Intel aims to lower
the cost of adding wireless capabilities to future products.

Low Power, High Performance Circuits

Finally, Intel presented additional papers on low power, high-performance
circuit design. As transistors get smaller issues like leakage power, heat
dissipation and transistor variation pose significant issues. Intel
researchers are working on control and avoidance technologies to minimize
the effects of these issues, as well as ways to improve computational
efficiency to provide higher performance processors that consume less power
and produce less heat. The ultimate objective is to continue on the path of
Moore’s Law while paving the way for more power-efficient computing.