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Intel transistor uses 3D structure

Posted: 09 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D transistor? 22nm node? Ivy Bridge?

Intel Corp. has released a breakthrough in the evolution of the transistorthe microscopic building block of modern electronics. For the first time since the invention of silicon transistors over 50 years ago, transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel will introduce a revolutionary 3D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22nm node in an Intel chip codenamed 'Ivy Bridge.'

The three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistors represent a departure from the two-dimensional planar transistor structure that has powered computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics to-date, as well as electronic controls within cars, spacecraft, household appliances, medical devices and other everyday devices for decades.

Scientists have long recognized the benefits of a 3D structure for sustaining the pace of Moore's Law as device dimensions become so small that physical laws become barriers to advancement. The key to today's breakthrough is Intel's ability to deploy its novel 3D Tri-Gate transistor design into high-volume manufacturing, ushering in the next era of Moore's Law and opening the door to a new generation of innovations across a broad spectrum of devices.

Moore's Law is a forecast for the pace of silicon technology development that states that roughly every two years transistor density will double, while increasing functionality and performance and decreasing costs. It has become the basic business model for the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years.

The 3D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, boasting an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

tri-gate transistor

The image shows the vertical fins of Intel's revolutionary tri-gate transistors passing through the gates.

The 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar transistors. This incredible gain means that they are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to 'switch' back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2D planar transistors on 32nm chips.

Transistors continue to get smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient in accordance with Moore's Lawnamed for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Because of this, Intel has been able to innovate and integrate, adding more features and computing cores to each chip, increasing performance, and decreasing manufacturing cost per transistor.


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