By 2010, 10GHz processors and 64Gbytes Dram memory chips will hit the market, predict scientists at one of the industry's research powerhouses, Lucent's Bell Laboratories.
Changes in semiconductor production methods will make such chips, and 200GHz transitors, a reality, by packing more and more features on to a small wafer. They will also reduce power consumption, enabling products such as wristwatch videophones with battery life of a full day.
Arun Netravali, vice president of research at Bell Labs, told a US press briefing that the three main techniques that will make all this possible have been pioneered at Bell. X-ray, extreme ultra-violet and electron beam methods are all possibilities to replace optical lithography as the means of printing features on a silicon wafer. This is becoming inadequate for today's very small chip technologies.
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