IBM unveils technology for 22nm chips

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IBM has unveiled its strategy to produce future chips using a 22nm fabrication process.

The company is adopting a technique called 'computational scaling' in order to manufacture circuits small enough to deliver more powerful and energy-efficient devices.

While current chips such as Intel's are manufactured using a 45nm process, vendors are already looking ahead to succeeding generations.

Intel plans to introduce 32nm chips in 2009, but chipmakers have hit a problem in that current lithographic methods are not adequate for designs as small as 22nm owing to fundamental physical limitations.

IBM said that computational scaling overcomes these limitations by using mathematical techniques to modify the shape of the masks and the characteristics of the illuminating source used to image the circuits for each layer of an integrated circuit.

The company is directly tying the development into its cloud computing strategy, claiming that the process will enable the production of smaller, more powerful and energy-efficient devices that will be required to deliver highly scalable web services.
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