Intel has announced plans to add silicon germanium (SiGe) transistors and mixed-signal circuitry capabilities to its 90-nanometer manufacturing process.
Combining the 90-nm logic process with advancements in mixed-signal technology will enable analogue and digital functions to be combined on a single chip.
This will pave the way for single-chip handheld devices offering services such as mobile telecommunications, wireless data transmission and evolving personal area network service offerings, according to Intel Communications general manager Sean Maloney.
“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,” Maloney said.
“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.”
Maloney said the addition of SiGe significantly increases the speed and reduces the noise of transistors for high-speed communications equipment, such as optical switches and wireless base stations.
SiGe and CMOS transistor circuitry on 90-nm 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, Maloney said.
In addition to SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistors, new features on the 90-nm process for communications include high-voltage RF analogue CMOS transistors, precision capacitors and resistors for analogue circuits, and high-Q inductors and varactors.