Technology Bulletin

By: 
June 24, 1996

Technology packs 125 million transistors on a chip

Next year, Texas Instruments' new TImeline Technology will be packing more than 100 million transistors on a 19-mm 2 piece of silicon using a 0.18-micron CMOS process technology. This density is double that possible with 0.25-micron technology and would make it possible to put all the electronics needed for a PC--including the microprocessor, modem, sound card, glue logic, and 16 Mbytes of DRAM--on one chip. "Today's most complex chips range from 5 to 7 million transistors. This dramatic increase in transistor count will create systems and applications that we haven't even started to imagine," says Rich Templeton, TI Semiconductor Group senior vice president and worldwide manager of its application-specific products business. Initial quantities of the 0.18-micron chips will be available in the first half of 1997, with full-scale production slated for the end of the year. The first applications are expected to be in engineering workstations and high-end telecom equipment, where TI officials say the technology could produce single chips that could replace 100 of today's modem boards. In addition, TI expects that communications, computer, and consumer OEMs can half their time to market by using its comprehensive library of DSPs, systems cores, memories types, and mixed-signal and application-specific modules. For details, visit http://www.ti.com.


Prototype automotive device may replace catalytic converters

Treating automotive exhaust with electric current may enhance the efficiency of cars' catalytic converters--or replace them altogether. Electrical corona discharges similar to what makes neon signs glow can cause reactions that break down harmful components in automotive exhaust. The technique was developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to treat harmful vapors released during soil decontamination. It's now being tested by the laboratory and "Big Three" engineers to assess its potential for treating vehicle emissions. For more information, FAX the PNNL at (509) 375-2242, visit http://w3.pnl.gov:2080/news .


Flat-panel displays offer paper-like resolution

Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center has developed displays and image-capture devices that provide resolutions an order-of-magnitude greater than those currently found in laptop computers, say company officials, delivering a level of image clarity available today only by using paper or film. PARC researchers have demonstrated page-size flat panels with 7 million pixels; laptop computers commonly have half-million-pixel displays. Applications include aircraft cockpits, where clear display of flight and tactical information is crucial, and workstations, where resolution of minute details in a complex CAD image is a necessity. "We've created a dynamic medium that communicates with more richness and dimension than a paper document and with more definition than today's digital documents on the desktop," claims Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, CEO of dpiX (pronounced "depicts"), the company Xerox has launched to develop and market the new technology. Initially, dpiX will introduce state-of-the-art active-matrix liquid-crystal displays for military aircraft cockpits, with the first displays scheduled for introduction late this year. For details, e-mail chihuang@parc.xerox.com .


CFC replacement handles demanding applications

Due to U.S. and international environmental regulations, the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances is being phased out. After learning from customers that many CFC replacements didn't meet industry

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