Archive for the ‘Silicon Semiconductors’ Category

Core Blimey… A 48-core megachip for mobile devices? Yup, say Intel boffins in Barcelona.

November 1st, 2012

Dual core and quad core are commonplace in today’s laptops, desktops and other devices, but how about a 48-core chip? No, it’s not April 1st and this is no prank. An editorial piece published October 30th in Computer World reports that Intel researchers are “working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets.”

Pretty cool stuff, and a development that will bring unimaginable power to small devices. However, don’t hold your breath – it’s likely to be up to 10 years before they hit the market, according to market researchers, although Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner expects availability to be much sooner than 10 years.. Enric Herrero of Intel Labs Barcelona told Computer World that “the lab is working on finding new ways to use and manage many cores in mobile devices. Typically a processor with one core would do jobs one after another. With multiple cores, they can divide the work among them.”

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Posted in Consumer Apps, IC, Industry Commentary, R&D, Silicon Semiconductors | No Comments »

Humble Scotch Tape Enables Induction of High-Temperature Superconductivity in a Semiconductor

September 12th, 2012

We just had to post this. Good old garden shed physics at its finest… Brilliant!

Solid State Technology reports that a research team led by physicists at the University of Toronto has developed a simple new technique using Scotch poster tape enabling them to induce high-temperature superconductivity in a semiconductor for the first time. The method paves the way for novel new devices that could be used in quantum computing and to improve energy efficiency.

Not quite the Fast Show’s Professor Denzil Dexter’s space bat, but tool shed science springs to mind…

High-temperature superconductors conduct electrical current without heating up and losing energy at liquid nitrogen temperatures, and are currently in use for transmitting electricity with low loss and as the basic blocks for designing quantum computers. The limitations currently are that only certain compounds of iron, copper and oxygen – or cuprates – reveal high-temperature superconducting properties, and so were deemed unfit for incorporating into semiconductor designs for widespread applications.

That’s where the Scotch tape comes in…

Physicist Ken Burch of the University of Toronto explained that, typically, the junctions between semiconductors and superconductors are created through complex material growth procedures and fabricating devices with features smaller than a human hair. Cuprates, however, have a completely different structure and complex chemical make-up that rendered it impossible to incorporate with a normal semiconductor.

Burch’s team used Scotch tape and glass slides to “place high-temperature superconductors in proximity with a special type of semiconductor known as a topological insulator. Topological insulators have captured world-wide attention from scientists because they behave like semiconductors in the bulk, but are very metallic at the surface. The result was induced superconductivity in these novel semiconductors: a physics first.”

Perhaps we should bulk buy Scotch tape in advance of a possible world shortage? I hope no-one’s told 3M!

Read all about it here


Posted in Materials, Silicon Semiconductors | No Comments »

Intel’s Dadi: Low Power the Path to Long Life and Enlightenment

September 11th, 2012

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today, Dadi Perlmutter, Intel’s chief product officer, outlined how its low-power processors, starting with the company’s 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family available in 2013, will “set a new standard for mobile computing experiences and innovative Ultrabook™, convertible and tablet designs.”

Processors based on Intel’s new ‘Haswell’ microarchitecture promise big things, not least being faster, thinner, lighter and cooler, qualities which have obvious benefits for mobile computing. Allied to these performance enhancements, Intel, Perlmutter said, has “reduced the platform idle power of its 4th generation processors based on the ‘Haswell’ microarchitecture by more than 20 times over the 2nd generation, while delivering outstanding performance and responsiveness.” Intel also plans to add a new line of even lower-power processors based on the same microarchitecture to its roadmap starting in 2013.

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Intel’s diversification strategy: Half the expected $4 billion in revenue gains in 2013 could come from non-core businesses?

June 26th, 2012

In an article by eWeek’s Jeff Burt published yesterday, Deustche Bank Equity Research analyst Ross Seymore indicates that Intel’s diversification strategy, which is taking them outside of their PC and server chip comfort zone and into new markets such as flash storage and wireless communications, could yield an additional $4bn in profits next year.

“The giant chip maker”, writes Burt, “stands to grow profits by as much as $4 billion in 2013, and about half of that could come from businesses other than PC and server chips, including embedded technology, wireless chips and NAND flash storage.”

In these ‘non-core’ areas, Intel has, according to a Deutsche Bank research report published June 24, “dramatically outperformed its competition on revenue growth and/or profitability from 2008-2012 and is poised to extend these gains in 2013.”  Of course, a huge majority of Intel’s revenues come from its ‘traditional’ business, but it’s certainly very interesting to see Intel actively engaging in new areas where it sees, and is seemingly maximizing, opportunities.  This is somewhat reminiscent of how companies such as Google and Apple, to an extent, grow.

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Posted in Industry Commentary, Market Analysis, Silicon Semiconductors, Telecommunications | No Comments »

Intel Spreads the 14nm Love…

June 11th, 2012

EE Times reported recently that Intel is planning to invest a significant amount, rumored to be in the region of $1.25 billion, in its wafer fab campus located in Leixlip, Ireland.  The development, announced May 10 by Intel CEO Paul Otellini, will prime the facility, Fab 24, for 14nm and sub-14nm silicon manufacturing. In addition to the investment in Ireland, Otellini detailed two further Intel fabs earmarked for investment for 14-nm and beyond, those being Fab D1X in Oregon and Fab 42 in Arizona.

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