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IBM apes Mother Nature for faster, more efficient chips

Darren Murph

Someone should seriously tell IBM's research and development team to take a much-deserved vacation, as these folks have been cranking out the goods at an alarming rate of late. Most recently, the company has announced the "world's first application of self assembly used to create a vacuum around nanowires for next-generation microprocessors," which just so happens to mimic the natural pattern-creating process that forms seashells, snowflakes, and enamel on teeth. Essentially, the process forms "trillions of holes to create insulating vacuums around the miles of nano-scale wires packed next to each other inside each computer chip," which should aid electrical current in flowing around 35-percent faster while it eats up about 15-percent less energy. This newfangled approach to insulation, dubbed airgaps, creates vacuums that enable the substantial boost in speed, and the self assembling process is reportedly "already integrated" into IBM's manufacturing line in New York. The chips will initially be used in the firm's server lineup sometime near 2009, and shortly thereafter, we can expect IBM to start cranking these out for other companies that rely on its CPUs.

[Via BBC, thanks Josh]

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