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Thursday, 31 October 2013 12:54

Intel bets the farm on extreme ultraviolet

Written by Nick Farrell



Bending Moore’s Law might be problematic

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich thinks a new, very unproven technology called "extreme ultraviolet lithography" (EUV) could be the answer to dealing with Moore’s law.

Chipzilla is hoping that EUV should allow Intel to continue to make its chips smaller, faster, and more efficient. So far while the technology has been there it is proving tricky to get into a commercial production scale. Hope grew high for EUV in 2009 when Dutch firm ASML unveiled a light source that could reliably produce wavelengths of light appropriate for it. Intel decided to invest $4.1 billion in ASML last summer but actual news on the new process has been thin on the ground.

Intel has said that it is working on 10nm transistors by 2015 and 7nm in 2017 and Intel won't confirm that it will be using EUV to get there. If EUV works chips that make 7nm seem unimpressive should be with us by the end of the decade. If Intel can not get it to work then it will have done more than wasted a lot of cash. It will have upheld Moores Law and resulted in a stalling in the production of chips for years.

Nick Farrell

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