Cold Chips Go Very Fast!

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Cold Chips Go Very Fast!

Researchers at IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology recently announced that they have broken the speed record for silicon-based chips with a semiconductor that operates 250 times faster than chips commonly used today. (New York Times reports.)

(No, not the chips on the left.)

The achievement has been called a major step in the evolution of computer semiconductor technology that could eventually lead to faster networks and more powerful electronics at lower prices. Developments typically find their way into commercial products in 12 to 24 months.

The researchers, using a cryogenic test station, achieved the speed milestone by "freezing" the chip to 451 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, using liquid helium. That temperature, normally found only in outer space, is just nine degrees above absolute zero, or the temperature at which all movement is thought to cease.

Dan Olds, a principal at the Gabriel Consulting Group, a technology consulting firm in Portland, OR, said the development was significant because it showed that the chip industry had not yet reached its upper limits.

The research group included students from Georgia Tech and Korea University in South Korea as well as researchers from IBM Microelectronics.

The results are reported in this month's issue of the IEEE Electron Device Letters. (Sure everyone is familiar with that pub ...)

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