On June 8, IBM announced that it had discovered a “breakthrough method” to stretch silicon during standard semiconductor manufacturing, a development that is expected to allow it to start making faster versions of a wide variety of microchips that use less power within two years.
However, a company called AmberWave Systems Corp. has developed and patented a Strained Silicon technology, called epsilonMOS (eMOS), that’s available for immediate licensing, according to AmberWave CEO Mark Wolf.
Strained Silicon is gaining wide acceptance as the material of the future for semiconductors as evidenced by IBM’s announcement, Wolf said. AmberWave and its founder, MIT Professor Dr. Gene Fitzgerald, conceived and perfected Strained Silicon technology over the last 10 years.
“Gene Fitzgerald is the father of high-mobility Strained Silicon science and AmberWave is delighted that industry leaders such as IBM are ready to bring this innovation to the global semiconductor marketplace,” he said. “AmberWave has the IP, the tools, and the personnel to immediately support companies that are interested in commercial production.”
The technology creates the potential for high-speed circuits by stretching out the atoms of silicon and lowering the resistance of electrons in the material. The atoms are stretched when a layer of silicon is deposited on top of a compound material.
Wolf added that AmberWave “actively welcomes requests” from any parties interested in licensing its Strained Silicon technology. As AmberWave has “very fundamental technology and intellectual property” in strained silicon and related areas, their business model is to license the technology to whomever is interested, Wolf said.
Would, say, Motorola be interested?
“We’d be delighted to license to IBM, Motorola or anyone else who has the need,” Wolf told MacCentral. “We believe that strained silicon will become the prevalent platform for all microprocessor applications.”
AmberWave purportedly has engaged several high profile companies, and is focused on deploying its technology globally and working with its partners to commercialize Strained Silicon integrated circuits, introducing ultra high-speed, enhanced Si CMOS solutions and integration schemes to “economically satisfy the industry’s need for improved performance,” Wolf said. AmberWave’s eMOS can provide electron and hole mobility enhancement factors of between 1.5 and 2.2, he added.
AmberWave was founded in 1998 to commercialize Strained Silicon materials, processes, devices, and integrated circuits. The company holds four patents with 49 pending applications in materials integration and device implementation of relaxed SiGe-based heterostructures.