Coming in 2013, the semiconductor giant Intel is set once again to keep its Co-founder (Gordon Moore) words true as its readying commercial production of its new generation of semiconductor manufacturing technology named “Tri-Gate“. So what will this mean and why do we even need this as isn’t life good enough now?
Well the answer of “why” is simply boiled down to a factor of size, as the smaller you get the more logic you can pack into the same area, thus the more calculations which can be performed for the same cost. Yes it’s the story of the incredible shrinking transistor, a story popularized by Intel Co-founder Gordon Moore some four decades ago. However, as the illusions in Alice in Wonderland where she too takes a trip to the very, very small the issue with our silicon friends have is when we start to talk about structures which are only a few atoms thick, strange things can and do start to happen.
Here it’s called quantum tunneling and its somewhat related to the TV series about a decade ago as these darn electrons, yes as you remember back to high school chemistry right. As these are those things which hover outside the nucleus of the atom and provide the slippery skin if you will for others (electrons) to flow. Well turns out when we build structures this small they like to just disappear and then reappear nearby for no apparent reason (referred to as quantum tunneling). While cool in concept, this introduces noise and thus failure into the system which is something we don’t want when we are dialing our iPhone or searching for that restaurant on Google maps.
So Tri-Gate adds another stabilizing gate to prevent this “tunneling” from occurring and what’s interesting is it does this by using 3d technology thus making the path seem farther then what it is thus preventing those pesky electrons from jumping around. As what is doubly interesting is Intel is stealing a page from the carbon based playbook as this is basically the same way proteins work by packing their information into a tight area by using three dimensional folding.
Outside of the general “coolness” of this, the other advantage is power; ah yes that fleeting devil which limits all we do. As this will allow us to double what we do today with the same amount of power. So by 2013 Intel plans on the commercial introduction of this technology and thus a half-ing in power consumption of the resulting products. So this will give us twice the talk time on your smart phone, laptops with twice the battery life for hanging out in Starbucks longer and just think of how long an iPad will last.
Yet when we think of this achievement, most will simply shrug their shoulders and go on with their work day as usual. However what if the automakers in Detroit could do the same thing, just something to think about…