On December 16, 1947, scientists at Bell labs succeeded in building what many consider to be the greatest invention of the twentieth century; the transistor. Since then, engineers and scientists have continued to drive performance improvements incorporating hundreds of millions of transistors on a single microchip.
IBM has long been a leader in innovative semiconductor research technologies. From the development of the original building blocks for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) to advanced microprocessors such as the Cell processor, advances in underlying chip materials and manufacturing technologies have made it all possible by allowing chip circuitry to be made smaller, faster and less power-consuming.
The advances include the introduction of the first chips wired with copper, enhancements to transistor performance through the use of silicon-on-insulator (SOI), strained silicon and silicon germanium (SiGe) technologies, and the development of new photolithography processes and materials. IBM's leadership in this field was recognized in 2005 with the announcement that the U.S. Government was awarding IBM a National Medal of Technology for its long history of groundbreaking work in this field.
IBM scientists have also won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), which opened the world to individual atoms for the first time. Scientists and engineers from IBM Research continue to break new ground in so-called nanotechnology.
Most recently, scientists built the world's smallest solid-state light emitter, demonstrating the rapidly improving understanding of molecular devices. Other achievements include creating the highest performing nanotubes transistors to date and showing that CNTs can outperform the leading contemporary silicon transistor prototypes; demonstrating the world's first logic-performing computer circuit based on a single carbon nanotube; and developing a groundbreaking technique to produce arrays of CNT transistors, bypassing the need to meticulously separate metallic and semiconducting nanotubes.
To view a photo exhibit commemorating IBM's decades of semiconductor innovations visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21809476@N07/sets/72157603451974855/