The Register reports about a new breakthrough of Intel and Qinetiq.
Both companies announced they have made a quantum-well transistor with a gate length of 85nm. These kind of transistors are also known as high electron-mobility transistors and the advantage is their ability to operate at very high clock speeds at low voltages. They also use less power (and thus dissipate less heat) than today's transistors.
The Intel/Qintiq quantum-well transistor is based on a material called indium antimonide (InSb), which Qinetiq has been researching for some time through is R&D partnership with the UK's Ministry of Defence. According to Qinetiq, transistors made from InSb would consume a tenth of the energy gobbled up by today's state-of-the-art transistors yet deliver the same performance. Or they could be used to triple performance for the same power consumption.
Last year Intel and Qinetiq presented a 200mm quantum-well transistor. However, it are still early days for this technique. Intel expects it may be ready for commercial use by 2015.