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Strained Silicon

By Doug Barney

I have to admit, that when I first heard the term “strained silicon,” I assumed it meant that engineers are straining to get more processing power out of finite silicon physics. Not surprisingly, I was dead wrong. Strained silicon is a process where the atoms are literally stretched, or “strained.” This stretched silicon is more efficient in moving electrons so the chips can run faster and even use less power.

Research house Frost & Sullivan (Cupertino, CA) believes that stretched silicon could lay the groundwork for superfast game computers, supercomputers, and could also accelerate memory devices.

The only things standing in its way? A lack of collaborations amongst the vendors and a shortage of good standards. Hmmm. Reminds me of markets like storage, virtualization, productivity software, general purpose processors, and operating systems. 


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