They said they demonstrated the first silicon-based chip capable of operating at frequencies above 500 GHz by cryogenically "freezing" the circuit to minus 451 degrees Fahrenheit.
The joint IBM-Georgia Tech experiments are part of a project to explore the ultimate speed limits of silicon germanium, or SiGe, devices, which are said to operate faster at cold temperatures.
Ultrahigh-frequency SiGe circuits have potential applications in commercial communications systems, military electronics, and remote sensing. The research could make possible a new class of powerful, low-energy chips that will deliver future applications like HDTV and movie-quality video to automobiles, cell phones, and other devices.
The chips used in the research are from a prototype fourth-generation SiGe technology fabricated by IBM on 200-mm wafers. At room temperature, the circuits operated at approximately 350 GHz.
According to Georgia Tech and IBM, the technology uses large wafers and silicon-compatible low-cost manufacturing techniques.