Mobile phones these days have more computing power than full-fledged desktops of yore. So, it makes sense that mobile chip-makers are continually pushing the boundaries of mobile phone chip architecture. Qualcomm has just announced that they have successfully placed the first-ever phone call using a new 3G chip that was fabricated with 45 nanometer technology. The device using the 45-nm 3G chip was manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), a Qualcomm foundry partner.
Unfortunately, we’re in the dark about what device utilizes this new 45-nm 3G chip. But, we’ve got some juicy, super-technical details for you to mull over in the meantime. The new 45-nm chip fabrication utilizes 193-nm immersion lithography process. Immersion lithography is a twist on traditional photolithography (carving the chip with light) where the gap between the laser-lens and the chip-wafer is replaced with liquid (usually a highly purified water). The laser is “immersed” in the liquid, which bends the light and helps reduce the laser-light’s resolution by a factor equal to the refractive index of the liquid. The wafer was made of an extreme low-k inter-metal dielectric material.
And, ever the innovator, Qualcomm is considering a new 40-nm fabrication technology to increase performance, cost, and efficiency even more.
We can’t wait to get our hands on some 45-nm 3G goodness. Stay tuned for updates on these new chips.
In case you find this kind of geeky-tech stuff as cool as we do, here’s some reading on chip-fabrication technologies.