IBM claims to have developed a transistor technology that promises to enable the production of 45nm processors based on existing techniques.
The company developed the technology with AMD, Toshiba and Sony, and expects to start shipping its first 45nm chips by 2008.
The IBM announcement follows a similar unveiling by Intel, which last week demonstrated working 45nm processors. Intel said that consumers can expect working systems based on the new technology by the second half of this year.
Both IBM and Intel are using a combination of High-K and metal gate technologies, which promise to cut leakage, allow chips to operate at cooler temperatures and increase battery life in portable devices.
The two new technologies provide an important breakthrough because researchers believed that it would be impossible to make 45nm chips using existing production techniques.
Switching to different processes typically disrupts production and results in lower yields.
"Until now, the chip industry was facing a major roadblock in terms of how far we could push current technology," said Dr T C Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM Research.
"After more than 10 years of effort, we now have a way forward. With chip technology so pervasive in our everyday lives, this work will benefit people in many ways."
IBM's discovery is a blow for Intel, which believed that it was the only semiconductor manufacturer to have found a way to construct transistors using High-K and metal gate technologies.
Big Blue has not yet demonstrated any working chips based on the technology, but plans to present a summary of its achievements in scientific journals and at technology conferences.
IBM and AMD follow in Intel's 45nm footsteps
By Tom Sanders on Jan 30, 2007 9:43AM