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Coms capabilities to most advanced chip


Silicon-Germanium Transistors Lead Enhancements That Promise New Wave of Communications Chips

Intel today announced plans to add communications capabilities to its industry-leading 90-nanometer (nm) manufacturing process.

These capabilities include the use of high-speed silicon-germanium transistors and “mixed-signal” circuitry, aimed at bringing about a new wave of faster, more integrated, less-costly communications chips. Such chips could lead to single-chip, hand-held devices that offer cell-phone, wireless-data-network and the evolving “personal-area-network” services, as well as smaller, lower-cost network-infrastructure equipment.

“This integration of computing and communications technologies will enable us to create microchips that are twice as fast, contain 2.5 times more transistors and are substantially less expensive than anything that exists today,” said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Communications Group. “The combination of mixed-signal, silicon germanium and our most advanced CMOS manufacturing process will bring the benefits of Moore’s Law to communications silicon and help keep Intel at least a generation ahead of the competition.”

The new manufacturing process combines Intel’s 90-nm logic process with advancements in “mixed-signal” technology that enables analog and digital functions, which previously resided on multiple chips, to be combined on a single chip. Using this technology, Intel will integrate some critical analog components directly onto silicon and change how some functions are implemented so they can be integrated into the logic portion of the chip. By changing the implementation method of analog functions on digital CMOS transistors, communications chips will benefit from Moore’s Law in performance, power, integration and cost. Moore’s Law, named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles approximately every two years.

New Silicon-Germanium Transistors The addition of silicon germanium significantly increases the speed and reduces the noise of transistors for high-speed communications equipment, such as optical switches and wireless base stations. These transistors possess the necessary speed for systems, such as optical components, that process data at 50 gigabits per second and higher. Silicon-germanium and CMOS transistor circuitry on Intel’s 90-nm process could cut the number of chips and processes used to create an optical subsystem in half, or enable connection of wireless components directly to antennae without intervening circuitry that consumes space and power.

Intel will manufacture all of its 90-nm communications chips on 300-millimeter wafers, enabling high-volume production and a substantial reduction in manufacturing costs. The first communications chips based on the new 90-nm process are scheduled for introduction next year.

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at

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