Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New research promises faster, cheaper and more reliable microchips


A project between academia and industry is aiming to spark a world electronics revolution by producing faster, cheaper and more reliable microchips.

The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, has joined forces with Amtel, on North Tyneside in the North East of England, to create ‘strained silicon’ microchips, which involves adding a material called germanium to the traditional silicon used in semiconductor manufacturing.

Atmel, whose silicon chips find applications in such diverse products as smart cards and game consoles like XBOX, is playing host to a team of five Newcastle University researchers led by top microelectronics professor Anthony O’Neill.

“With this process we can create strained silicon microchips, which will be much faster or use less battery power than conventional microchips” explained Professor Anthony O’Neill, who leads a team of 5 researchers. The team, hosted by Atmel, aim to produce the world’s first strained silicon technology, ahead of the competition.

“Microchips have doubled in performance every 18 months for the last 30 years, but the end of the road is now in sight, which means new innovations like strained silicon are needed at the leading edge of microelectronics,” added Professor O’Neill, l who has been working with strained silicon processes for almost ten years.

Atmel Managing Director Craig McInnes said: “This is great news for the North East because it brings real, commercial research and development to the region. This will help develop the knowledge-based economy which is vital for our future.

“We have the potential here for developing a brand new process which will give us cheaper and faster chips. These will be the market leaders of tomorrow. Atmel and Newcastle University have joined forces to develop some of the world’s fastest microchips.”

The research and development project based at Atmel’s North Tyneside semiconductor factory and involves joint working to unravel the complexities of working with a new material called strained silicon germanium.

Strained silicon on silicon-germanium has been tipped as one of the key emergent technologies for the next generation of semiconductors.

If the venture proves successful it will bring leading edge technology to the North East.

The two sides have entered in to a joint collaborative agreement and will share the fruits of the development if it proves to be a world beater.

Atmel will supply the manufacturing know-how to speed up the development.

The joint venture marks a break-though in collaborative working between Newcastle University and industry.

Prof O’Neill added: “This really is getting the research out of the lab into the commercial world. Working with Atmel will allow us to take the product from the drawing board to marketable reality a lot quicker than relying on the limited resources available to universities.

“Getting products to market quickly is vital in the fast-moving world of semiconductor manufacturing and development. If we are successful we will have a world first made on Tyneside.”

Claire Jordan | alfa

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>