45 nanometer

From ArticleWorld

The 45 nanometre (45nm) process in semiconductor fabrication is a projected milestone that is expected to become commercially viable by the year 2008. The average feature size of such semiconductors would be 45 nanometres, as the name suggests. Highly expensive today, this fabrication process is still being researched. The world’s major computing organisations, namely, Intel, AMD and IBM are working on this technology. Compared to other objects measured on the nanoscale, a 45 nanometre feature is extremely small. A human hair is 80,000 nm in diameter. Viruses can be 120 nm in diameter. The silicon crystal lattice has a spacing of around 0.2 nm. The technology – its advantages This drastic reduction in size as compared to the present 90nm size is set to offer a number of advantages. The most important advantage that is expected as a result of this process is the drastic reduction in the leakage phenomenon which is observed in advanced processors such as Intel’s Prescott Pentium 4. Leakage is a detrimental phenomenon in which electrons tunnel through an insulating region. It increases with the thickness of the insulating region. This leads to higher power consumption and complete circuit failure. A process involving a layer of silicon (with silicon atoms stretched beyond their normal inter-atomic distances) is deployed along with a low-dielectric-constant insulator. This third generation ‘strained-silicon’ fabrication technique is expected to result in a 75% cut in the leakage phenomenon as compared to the 65 nm process. 45 nm technology will also have the die size reduced by half as compared with the 65 nm process. This would enable about twice as many processor cores to be placed on a single chip. Though still being researched, processes such as 35nm, 22nm and 10nm would be seen in the near future.