Over 6 Decades of Continued Transistor Shrinkage, Innovation

Intel®’s 22 nm Technology Moves Transistor Into the 3rd Dimension

Over six decades of continued transistor shrinkage, innovation

Intel 22 nm technology moves the transistor into the third dimension

Santa Clara, Calif., May 2011 – Since the invention of the transistor in 1947, technology has progressed swiftly, paving the way for ever more powerful, yet more cost-effective and energy-efficient products. Continuation of these advances, at the pace dictated by Moore’s Law, has required numerous innovations; recent notable ones are strained silicon (introduced by Intel in 2003) and high-k/metal gate (introduced by Intel in 2007). Intel is now about to make yet another radical change in its transistor design, one that will deliver an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency in a whole range of computers, from servers to desktops, and from laptops to handheld devices.

For the first time in history, silicon transistors are entering the third dimension. Intel is introducing the tri-gate transistor, in which the transistor channel is raised into the third dimension. Current flow is controlled on three sides of the channel (top, left and right) rather than just from the top, as in conventional, planar transistors. The net result is much better control of the transistor, maximizing current flow (for best performance) when it is on, and minimizing it (reducing leakage) when it is off.

Read the full 22nm Technology Backgrounder.