A state-funded research team of South Korean scientists has developed the world’s thinnest metallic wire for semiconductor chips, the science and technology ministry.

The wire, developed by Yonsei University’s Centre for Atomic Wires and Layers, measures just two nanometers in width, the ministry said. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

The new technology breakthrough is expected to help in the development of new semiconductors capable of handling more data at faster speeds, it said.

Global memory chip leader Samsung Electronics currently uses 70-nanometer technology for its commercialised chips and has plans to upgrade to 50-nanometer.

The South Korean research team led by Yonsei University physics professor Yeom Han-Woong began their study on the two-nanometer technology in 2003 funded by the science and technology ministry.

The study results were published in Thursday’s edition of Physical Review Letters, a world-renowned physics journal, the ministry said.

The ministry, which has supported the team with aid of 2.23-billion won ($2.14-million), said it would continue to fund the research until 2011.

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