A chip manufacturing specialist said yesterday that it has found a way of dramatically speeding up processors, but Intel is not testing its methods.
Plasma & Materials Technologies, a Californian manufacturer that supplies semiconductor vendors, said it has spent four years developing a way of using a carbon-based liquid called Flowfill rather than silicon dioxide-based gas to provide insulation between the wires on a chip. This thinner insulation reduces interference between wires and increases the efficiency of the processor to carry signals. Sources say a fourfold increase in speed is possible if the liquid proves viable in mass production.
But Plasma & Materials Technologies confirmed that Intel was not one of the companies that is testing its process, though some of its rivals are in talks.
If the process works, it could become increasingly important as CPU vendors struggle to cram more transistors on to their chips to improve their performance. The company hopes Flowfill will be in mass production by 1998.
Analysts agreed that the process is a good idea that could change the balance of power in the processor market. The company?s founder and chief executive claimed the only task facing Flowfill is to prove its reliability in mass production.
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