Intel said on Tuesday that it was combining a string of manufacturing breakthroughs to take computer chip manufacturing to new levels.
The processes are centered on the company’s so-called 90-nanometer computer chips (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). Thinner computer chips translate into cheaper, faster, cooler-running computers that consume less power.
Intel is adding a number of new technologies to this thinner chip, the first time these technologies have been combined in actual production.
Among the advances are the use of a smaller transistors, measuring 50 nanometers in length.
Transistors control the “on-off” function of computer chips, the basic calculating ability of a computer. Smaller transistors mean less energy, heat and manufacturing costs.
These new transistors, Intel said, will have working components of only five atoms in width.
Intel also said it is using, for the first time, so-called “strained silicon” in full production.
Silicon is the base material of computer chips, and strained silicon is a purer form of this material that allows for a smoother flow of electrical current.
“Intel’s 90 nm process is very healthy today,” said Mark Bohr, Intel Fellow and director of the company’s process architecture and integration.
“By next year, we will be the first company to have a 90 nm process in volume manufacturing.”
Speed and decreased manufacturing costs are seen as a possible route to jumpstarting the lagging technology sector, which has seen lingering downturns in computer buying both by corporations and individuals.