The devices used in the research are from a prototype fourth-generation SiGe technology fabricated at IBM on a 200-millimeter wafer using an older un-optimized mask set. Simulations suggest that the technology could ultimately support much higher (near-Terahertz) operational frequencies at room temperature, Cressler said.
"For the first time, Georgia Tech and IBM have demonstrated that speeds of half a trillion cycles per second can be achieved in a commercial silicon-based technology, using large wafers and silicon-compatible low-cost manufacturing techniques," said John Cressler, Byers Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a researcher in the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech, in a statement.
Ultra-high-frequency SiGe circuits have potential applications in commercial communications systems, defense electronics, space exploration and remote sensing. The research could make possible a new class of powerful, low-energy chips that will deliver futurist applications like HDTV and movie-quality video to cell phones, automobiles and other devices.