Breakthrough has Toshiba Looking Ahead to 16nm

Paul Lilly

Most chip manufacturers are busy readying the move to a 32nm manufacturing process, including Toshiba, which back in April of this year said it would begin mass producing 32Gb (gigabit) chips from the shrunken process by next month. But forget about 32nm - Toshiba says it has made a breakthrough in the use of strontium germanide (SrGex) that will make 16nm possible sooner than expected.

The breakthrough involves the development of a gate stack and interlayer with high carrier mobility that can be applied to metal-insulator-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MISFETs), ElectronicsWeekly.com reports. Today's MSIFETs use silicon for the channel, however the substance is reaching its design limit in terms of current handling capabilities.

Germanium presents design challenges too, namely the development of thin gate structures. According to Toshiba, it can get around these challenges by combining SrGex, a compound of strontium, and germanium, for use as an interlayer between the high-k insulating layer and the germanium channel.

The details get even geekier, but you'll have to wait for Toshiba to present the technology at the 2009 VLSI Symposia in Kyoto, Japan later this week.

Image Credit: ElectronicsWeekly.com

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