PALO ALTO -- Hewlett-Packard scientists this month disclosed a new way to make nanoscale computer chips that reportedly increases by eightfold the number of transistors on a chip, without making the transistors smaller.

The HP team's concept involves layering a structure called a nanowire on top of a conventional silicon chip, to increase the number of interconnects. Also, most of the wiring from the silicon is removed, allowing the more transistors to be crammed on the chip.

This is significant because it enables higher utilization of existing wafer sizes.

"This is three generations of Moore's Law, without having to do all the research and development to shrink the transistors," Stan Williams, a senior fellow at HP, told the San Jose Mercury News. "If in some sense we can leapfrog three generations, that is something like five years of R&D. That is the potential of this breakthrough."

The results were published this month in a supplement to Applied Physics.

HP researchers plan to start manufacturing prototypes of their chip design later this year and hopes to bring the chips to market by 2010, reported the Mercury Times.


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