IBM on Monday will unveil what it says is the world's tiniest working transistor.
Big Blue's IBM Research group will announce the new transistor at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco this week. The length of the transistor's gate--a tiny pathway for electricity--is only 6 nanometers, or 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Transistors are the tiny devices that make up a chip's circuitry, acting like an on-and-off switch for electrical signals; the gate is what turns it on and off. The new, tiny transistor is a symbolic development in chip technology because it helps prove that processor performance will see improvement many more years into the future, IBM researchers said.