Intel, IBM reveal transistor breakthroughs

In dueling announcements, Intel Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. separately say they have solved a puzzle perplexing the semiconductor industry about how to reduce energy loss in microchip transistors as the technology shrinks to the atomic scale. Each company said it has devised a way to replace problematic but vital materials in the transistors of computer chips that have begun leaking too much electric current as the circuitry on those chips gets smaller. Technology experts said it is the most dramatic overhaul of transistor technology for computer chips since the 1960s and is crucial in allowing semiconductor companies to continue making ever-smaller devices that are also energy-efficient. It also ratchets up the competition between Intel and rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which helped IBM develop the technology along with electronics makers Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. Semiconductor experts said Intel and IBM scientists have concocted a clever way to maintain the industry's frenetic development pace. Companies are feverishly trying to discover new ways to adhere to Moore's Law, the 1965 prediction by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on a chip should double about every two years.