12:01 AM

Intel Details New 45-nm Processor Fabrication Technique

The new chip making method relies on high-k dielectrics and metal gates.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Intel Corp. has disclosed more details about its 45-nm process, saying that it has implemented high-k dielectrics and metal gates for the technology.

The company claims to be one of the first chip makers to implement these new materials in its process technology. Using an undisclosed thick hafnium-based material for its high-k films in gate-stack applications, Intel claims that it is able to boost the overall performance, while also reducing transistor leakage by more than 10 times over current silicon dioxide technology.

Seeking to get a jump on its rivals, Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) last year originally disclosed the initial details of its 45-nm process and claimed it had produced the world's first chips based on the technology. Intel's 45-nm process, dubbed P1266, is said to incorporate copper interconnects, low-k dielectrics, strained silicon and other features.

At the time, the company did not disclose if it would deploy silicon dioxide or high-k dielectric films for the critical gate stack. Now, Intel said it will use a new material with a property called high-k, for the transistor gate dielectric, and a new combination of metal materials for the transistor gate electrode.

''The implementation of high-k and metal materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicon gate MOS transistors in the late 1960s,'' said Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, in a statement.

''As more and more transistors are packed onto a single piece of silicon, the industry continues to research current leakage reduction solutions,'' said Mark Bohr, Intel senior fellow, in the same statement. ''Our implementation of novel high-k and metal gate transistors for our 45-nm process technology will help Intel deliver even faster, more energy efficient multi-core products that build upon our successful Intel Core 2 and Xeon family of processors, and extend Moore's Law well into the next decade.''

NEC Corp. is moving high-k into production, while IBM Corp. has disclosed the technology as well.

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