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Images: Chips of the future

Chips made on the 45-nanometer process will be faster, consume less energy, contain more transistors and be cheaper to make.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor on
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1 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Transistor gates

Behold the future of transistors. This experimental 45-nanometer tri-gate transistor from Intel can pass more electrons from the source to the drain, thereby resulting in faster chips that leak less electricity. The design is radically different from existing transistors. The tall picket-fence-like structures running from left to right are the transistor gates. The smaller structures that intersect them are called sources and drains. Usually, the gates, sources and drains exist on a flat plane.

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2 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Triple gate

The thing that looks like a wig is the triple gate. The black line is a layer of metal, a new feature for chips. The two are wrapped around what is called a source-drain fin. Without these sorts of changes--and other semiconductor manufacturers are doing similar things--chip designers could not continue to add transistors to chips.

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