The experimental chip is capable of operating at a rate up to 250 times greater than the rate of chips commonly used today in personal computers and cell phones
IBM scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Technology of the University of Georgia, USA, announced a breakthrough in research in the field of semiconductors. The experts from both bodies managed to cool a computer chip made of silicon-germanium, to almost absolute zero, and proved that the standard chip is capable of operating at these temperatures at a record rate of 500 gigahertz (500 billion operations per second). Absolute zero - minus 273.16 degrees Celsius - is the lowest possible temperature in nature.
Based on the current experiments, the researchers determined that changes in the design of computer chips produced with silicon-germanium technology may allow them to reach even faster work rates in the real world - and approach rates of almost 1,000 GHz at room temperature. The processing speed achieved in the joint experiment is about 250 times faster than the fastest chips available today in the world of personal computers and mobile phones.
The joint research is considered an important step in the process of examining the performance limitations of silicon chips, and testing the possibility of producing new types of high-power and energy-efficient chips, which will pave the way for future applications such as high-definition television and movie-quality video streaming for cell phones.
IBM's experiments were conducted on chips that are prototypes of the fourth generation of silicon-germanium technology, produced on silicon wafers with a diameter of 200 mm. So far, experiments have been conducted in accelerating the operation of chips by cooling to extreme temperatures only in chips manufactured with much more expensive technologies.