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Tri-Gate Transistors (Terra Futura)

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A tri-gate transistor was a transistor developed by Intel to replace conventional transistors temporarily. Power consumption was reduced, and speed was increased.

Background

The story of the computer is the story of the shrinking switch. The earliest electronic computers such as the ENIAC used vacuum tubes as switches. The ENIAC was a mainframe computer which was so large it fit an entire room or more. During World War II, President Roosevelt wanted something smaller and more efficient than a vacuum tube. Finally, in 1947, the transistor was invented. Early transistors used germanium, but in 1954, they started using silicon. As transistor shrunk farther, there came a tyranny of numbers. The solution came from two men named Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce. It was the integrated circuit. Robert Noyce, of course, would become one of the founders of Intel along with Gordon Moore who predicted that transistors would shrink in half every two years. This led to the invention of the microprocessor and the personal computer. Of course, Moore's Law was not going to last forever. A replacement for silicon was needed.

Description

Tech Level: 10

With 22 nm, Intel decided that continued shrinking would only work for so long. The scientists there were determined to push silicon to the absolute limit. One of the main goals for Ivy Bridge was to have as much current as possible in the "ON" state and as close as possible to zero in the "OFF" state and to switch rapidly between the two states. The solution was to replace the two-dimensional stream with one or more three-dimensional fins. This was the tri-gate transistor. Power consumption was reduced by 50%, and speed was increased by 37 %. The tri-gate transistor was obviously more efficient than a conventional planar transistor. The tri-gate transistor would become the dominant form of transistor up until 2022 when silicon transistors reached 5 nm and could be shrunken no more. They were replaced with other semiconductors such as carbon nanotubes and graphene.

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