Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Chips Could End Age of Silicon

vis ScienceDaily, news of a potentially paradigm shifting invention for the semiconductor industy. Weixiao Huang, working towards his doctorate at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has created a new type of semiconductor made from the material gallium nitride. Gallium has long been noted for its superior conductive properties, but its use in computing has been limited to the world of high-end supercomputing, primarily in systems built by Cray Systems using extermely expensive gallium arsenide as the material for processing chips. This new material shows promise as a much cheaper alternative that could potentially replace the silicon used in current computing systems.

"The new GaN transistor could reduce the power consumption and improve the efficiency of power electronics systems in everything from motor drives and hybrid vehicles to house appliances and defense equipment.

"Silicon has been the workhorse in the semiconductor industry for last two decades," Huang said. "But as power electronics get more sophisticated and require higher performing transistors, engineers have been seeking an alternative like gallium nitride-based transistors that can perform better than silicon and in extreme conditions."

The new chips have already posted record setting performance characteristics and have also shown to be highly durable, able to withstand harsh high temperature environments and even high radiation levels. In addition, it appears the material allows the integration of several functions onto a single chip, as well as running with a higher energy conversion efficiency.

While probably as far away as ten years or better from the marketplace, this new invention appears quite likely to revolutionize (once again) the computing industry. Start buying your stock now.

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