Technology has made great progress since the transistor’s invention in 1947. This had led to the creation of more powerful, more energy use efficient products that have a good price-performance ratio.
Progress has continued at a fast pace, following the rhythm dictated by Moore’s law and leading to the creation of many innovations. Among these innovations, one could name the strained silicon created in 2003 and the metal gate with a high dielectric constant which was launched by Intel in 2007.
Intel is going to make a new major change regarding the transistor design. This change is going to offer great performance and energy use efficiency for a wide range of systems, from servers to desktop systems, from notebooks to mobile devices.
For the first time in history, the silicon transistors enter the third dimension. Conductivity is now controlled by three parts (upper, left and right) compared to regular transistors where conductivity is controlled only via the upper part. Therefore the transistor is better controlled, conductivity is maximized (which translates into better performance) when the transistor is turned on and minimized (thus energy use is reduced) when the transistor is turned off.
Let us now see what the most important moments in transistor history are. The 22nm Intel innovation introduces a new semiconductor technology and takes Moore’s Law to a new level:
-December 16, 1947: William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain managed to built the first transistor at Bell Labs
– 1950: William Shockley develops the bipolar junction transistor or the standard transistor of today
– October 18, 1954: the first radio transistor, Regency TR1 was launched; it incorporated four Germanium transistors
– April 25, 1961: Robert Noyce received the first patent for the invention of the integrated circuit. Transistors were used for radio and phone manufacturing but the new electronic devices needed smaller parts – namely the integrated circuit.
– 1965: Moore’s Law appeared in an article in the Electronics Magazine. Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors would double each year (in 1975 he revised the law and said that the number of transistors would double every two years). Three years later, Bob Noyce created Intel, the abridged name for “integrated electronics.”
-1969: Intel develops the first silicon PMOS transistor. These transistors kept the traditional SiO2, but they used new electrodes.
– 1971: Intel launches the first microprocessor – 4004. It was as big as a fingernail, had 2,250 transistors and it used the PMOS 10 micron, 2 inch wafer Intel technology.
– 1985: the microprocessor Intel 386 is launched; it contained 275, 000 transistors more than 100 times the number of 4004’s transistors. It was a 32 bit multitasking chip and it used the CMOS 1, 5 micron technology.
– August 13, 2002 Intel launched several innovative technologies using its 90nm technological process. These technologies offered better performance due to low energy use transistors, strained silicon, high-speed copper and a new dielectric material. This was the first time when strained silicon was used in manufacture (this silicon type modifies the space between atoms).
– January 29, 2007: Intel launched new innovative transistor materials – the metal gate and the high dielectric constant – used for manufacturing the insulating walls of the new Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Xeon processors – the new materials’ code name was Penryn.
– May 3, 2011: Intel said they intended to begin the mass production of a new, innovative transistor. The tri-gate transistor can offer unmatched performance and energy use efficiency for many systems (servers, desktop systems, notebooks and mobile devices).