Indian scientist advances process to make silicon chips cooler, faster, cheaper

December 4th, 2007 - 1:11 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 4 (ANI): A new research, led by an Indian scientist, has developed a new process technology that leads to a significant reduction in heat generated by silicon chips, hence making them faster and more cost-effective.

Rajendra Singh, D. Houser Banks Professor and director for the Center for Silicon Nanoelectronics at Clemson University, and colleagues say that the new technology would result in reduced heat, and will allow future multi-core chips to have less physical cores because each one can be clocked higher and do more work.

Future handheld devices could also benefit by requiring less power to do the same work seen today.

Weve developed a new process and equipment that will lead to a significant reduction in heat generated by silicon chips or microprocessors while speeding up the rate at which information is sent, says Singh, who did M.Sc. in physics (electronics as the special subject) from Meerut University, India, in 1968, and Ph.D in physics (thesis on solar cells) from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Canada, in 1979. He joined Clemson University in 1992.

The heart of many high-tech devices is the microprocessor that performs the logic functions. These devices produce heat depending on the speed at which the microprocessor operates. Higher speed microprocessors generate more heat than lower speed ones.

Presently, dual-core or quad-core microprocessors are packaged as a single product in laptops so that heat is reduced without compromising overall speed of the computing system. The problem, according to Singh, is that writing software for these multicore processors, along with making them profitable, remains a challenge.

Our new process and equipment improve the performance of the materials produced, resulting in less power lost through leakage. Based on our work, microprocessors can operate faster and cooler, said Singh.

In the future it will be possible to use a smaller number of microprocessors in a single chip since weve increased the speed of the individual microprocessors. At the same time, weve reduced power loss six-fold to a level never seen before. Heat loss and, therefore, lost power has been a major obstacle in the past, he added.

The Clemson scientists are claiming to have developed a new process technology, which will allow for much less heat to be generated at a reduced manufacturing cost.

According to their press release, their patented method also “has the potential to improve the performance and lower the cost of next-generation computer chips and a number of semiconductor devices, which include green devices such as solar cells.”

The potential of this new process and equipment is the low cost of manufacturing, along with better performance, reliability and yield. The semiconductor industry is currently debating whether to change from smaller (300 mm wafer) manufacturing tools to larger ones that provide more chips (450 mm), Singh said.

Cost is the barrier to change right now. This invention potentially will enable a reduction of many processing steps and will result in a reduction in overall costs, he added.

The findings were published in Electronics Letters. (ANI)

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