Secret compound for better chips


Computer engines are about to get a lot more efficient. Chipmaker Intel announced last week that its next-generation 45-nanometre transistor will not only be smaller than existing designs but will also waste a lot less power, thanks to a new material at its heart. Transistors consist of a “gate” electrode that uses an electric field to switch current in a semiconducting “channel” on or off. To make them switch faster, chipmakers shorten the electrode and thin the insulating wall that separates the electrode from the channel. Go too far, though, and current leaks from the channel,
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