The biggest problem facing the consumption of current chips is not in the processing capacity. Rather it is found in the internal communication, that is, in the wiring that communicates the different parts with each other. Well, it’s trouble, it could see its end thanks to a new Silicon-28 nanowire technology. Which can change the design of future chips. Not only processors of all kinds, but also all kinds of memories. So this is a true Eureka with enormous potential to change the future of hardware.
As chips become more complex, thanks to the use of new manufacturing nodes, so do their internal communication systems. Where the electrical signals are transmitted through it, also generating heat. The problem is that silicon, used so much in chip design despite being relatively cheap, is a very poor conductor of heat. Which is a problem if we’re talking about processors that can run at multi-GHz clock speeds and are made up of billions of transistors. Put another way, this limits the clock speeds that the chips can achieve. If we add to this that each new manufacturing node is more expensive. So, it is clear to us what the dilemma of the designers of new processors is.
What are Silicon-28 nanowires?
When natural silicon is mined, it can be found in three different isotopes: silicon-28, silicon-29, and silicon-30. The most abundant of them all is the former found in more than 90% of the silicon found on earth. This is because it is the best conductor of heat, and it has an efficiency in this aspect that is 10% higher than the other two variants of this element.
Well, a study, carried out by the Berkeley National Laboratory, in the U.S, has discovered an unexpected property in this material. Which could benefit future chips. And it is that they have discovered that the Silicon-28 nanowires with 90 nm diameter they have one heat conductivity What is it 150% better than standard silicon. Of course, all this does not make any sense if we do not talk about its usefulness in the design of new chips.
Well, some of the transistors used for the design of different chips use silicon nanowires. The problem is that these overheat when conducting electricity. So if the new material can be implemented in future designs, this will allow them to have chips that transmit less heat. This translates into much lower TDP in future designs. However, all this has a problem. It is necessary to carry out a purification system for Silicon-28. Which adds new stages in the chip manufacturing process. so we talk about gain efficiency in exchange for slightly increasing costs. Although if it is just to earn a third of what was promised, then it will be worth it.