Wed, Dec 15, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Local scientists claim microchip ‘breakthrough’

SMALL PACKAGES:The technology will lead to chips with 20 times the memory of existing chips, storing 1 million pictures or 100 hours of 3D movies on a 1cm2 chip

AFP, TAIPEI

Ho Chia-hua, head of the biological microelectromechanical systems team at the National-Nano Device Laboratories at National -Applied Research Laboratories, holds up a model of a 9 nanometer super energy-efficient memory chip, the world’s smallest, in Taipei -yesterday. The memory chip was developed by a team under Ho’s leadership.

PHOTO: CNA

Taiwanese scientists yesterday unveiled an advanced microchip technology that they said marks a breakthrough in piling ever more memory into ever smaller spaces.

The scientists said they had succeeded in producing a circuit measuring just 9 nanometers across — 1 nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter.

“Researchers used to believe that 20 nanometers was the limit for microchip technologies,” said Ho Chia-hua (何家驊), who heads the team behind the project at the state-run National Nano-Device Laboratories.

A chip using the new memory technology has about 20 times the storage capacity of memory chips now available on the market and consumes just one 200th of the electricity, the scientists said.

The benefits of greater memory and reduced electricity consumption are highly sought in the manufacture of electronic gadgets like smart phones and tablet computers.

Using such technology, a 1cm2 chip will be capable of storing a million pictures or 100 hours of 3D movies, said Yang Fu-liang (楊富量), the director general of the laboratories.

However, Nobunaga Chai (柴煥欣), an analyst for the Taipei-based electronics market research -company Digitimes, said that it would be some time before anyone would be able to start making money from the new -advanced technology.

“I’m afraid it will take several years before the advanced technology can be turned into -commercial use,” he said.

Taiwan is among the top four microchip producers in the world.

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