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IBM Claims Speed Record

IBM expects its new silicon-based transistor to drive communications chips to speeds of 100GHz within two years

June 25, 2001

1 Min Read

EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. -- IBM today announced it has built the world's fastest silicon-based transistor, a basic building block used to make microchips. IBM expects the new transistor will drive communications chips to speeds of 100GHz within two years -- five times faster and four years sooner than recently-announced competitive approaches. The transistor uses a modified design and IBM's proven silicon germanium (SiGe) technology to reach speeds of 210 GigaHertz (GHz) while drawing just a milliamp of electrical current. This represents an 80 percent performance improvement and a 50 percent reduction in power consumption over current designs. "Just as aircraft were once believed incapable of breaking an imaginary 'sound barrier', silicon-based transistors were once thought incapable of breaking a 200GHz speed barrier," said Bernard Meyerson, IBM Fellow and vice president, IBM Communications Research and Development Center. "Makers of high performance electronics like networking gear are no longer forced to use chips made of exotic and expensive materials to reach these speeds. Silicon's future is safe as the preferred medium for chip-making."IBM Corp.

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