Japanese R&D firm Unisantis announced an agreement with Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics through which the two entities will develop a new kind of transistor.
The brakethrough transistor technology also known as the Surrounding Gate Transistor (SGT) comprises a vertical silicon pillar surrounded by memory cells, electrical contacts and other components. Such a design methodology greatly reduces the distance that electrons – which transmit information-bearing electrical signals – must travel within the SGT.
Next-generation chips fabricated with the SGT could be up to 10 times faster than existing chips built using conventional, two dimensional transistors with horizontally-arranged components. In addition, SGT-based chips could generate less heat and cost less to produce compared to existing ones.
The development team is lead by Unisantis’ chief technology officer Fujio Masuoka, also the inventor of flash memory storage format that is so popular these days in gadgets like MP3 players, USB flash sticks, digital cameras and recently even as replacement for laptop HDDs.
“The SGT also allows further improvements in silicon-based semiconductors, in terms of transistor size and processing speed, for at least 30 more years before the theoretical limits are reached. Such improvements are necessary for new-generation IC chips to meet the computing power demanded by IT products and computing networks of ever-increasing functionality and complexity,” said Prof Masuoka.
The agreement will be in place for 24 months beginning immediately, and may be extended if necessary.