Brave New Chip For a Brave New Wireless Future

A researcher at Rice University has come up with a semiconductor that is faster than conventional silicon chips, uses 30 times less energy and can be built using the existing manufacturing facilities. The new process to create the chip is called PCMOS, and was presented yesterday at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. PCMOS, which stands for probabilistic complementary metal oxide semiconductor, is a breakthrough that could boost performance of graphics on mobile phones, encryption and chips used inside medical implants without sucking as much power. Read More about Brave New Chip For a Brave New Wireless Future

Forget GHz and Think THz for Wireless Chips

Scientists at the University of Utah have developed a path to terahertz chips by figuring out how to transfer terahertz signals using wires. If commercialized, such a breakthough means faster chips and the potential for much faster wireless file transfer. Think wireless HD transfer in a few seconds rather than the 60 seconds anticipated when using 60 GHz.

Reading about this effort, however, left me with a feeling of déjà vu, as recently defunct chip company Phiar was able to achieve speeds of up to 3 THz using its metal-on insulater technology and quantum tunneling. It elected to commercialize its technology with a 60 Ghz chip designed for HD file transfer, but found the market crowded by competitors using the more familiar silicon-based CMOS process.

So while I applaud the Utah crew for pushing the envelope and predicting some type of terahertz chip within a decade, I hope the chip market is ready to commercialize a terahertz chip in that time frame.

60 GHz Chipmaker Phiar Fizzles & Shuts Down

Phiar Corp., a 60 GHz chip company that had created some truly impressive semiconductor technology, appears to have shuttered its operations. Sources tell me the Boulder, Colo.-based company is no longer in business, though as of April 15, Phiar had not filed for bankruptcy in Colorado Bankruptcy Court.

My calls to Bob Goodman, CEO of Phiar, and its sole investor, Mark Siegel at Menlo Ventures, were not returned. And five out of seven of the people listed on the Phiar management web page, including Goodman, stopped working at the company in March, according to their respective profiles on LinkedIn. Read More about 60 GHz Chipmaker Phiar Fizzles & Shuts Down