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back to article Intel to present 32nm chip while AMD shows off 22nm part

Intel will release details of its 32nm chip fabrication technology in just over a month's time. But AMD will be on hand to talk up its 22nm process. Representatives from the chip giant will be presenting a paper at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), which kicks off in San Francisco on 15 December. They will …

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Title

Can someone tell me how they measure these small distances, because my ruler only goes down to 1mm...

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Rob
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re: small rulers

i read somewhere that they use dwarves with really small rulers to measure those tiny distances.

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Using...

SEM's.

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How to measure small distances

For relatively large objects, use a micrometer screw gauge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micrometer

Or use a travelling microscope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_microscope

Visible light is at least 350nm across, so that would be useless for photographing a modern chip. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-ray_microscope

Even X-rays are a bit big for measuring details on a 32nm chip. I suspect they used an electron microscope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_microscope

An expensive electron microscope can resolve individual atoms. That is nowhere near the limit of modern technology. If you want to take a look at the structure of sub-atomic particles, you need a toy that probably wont fit in your back garden: http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/

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Re: Using...

That's: Small (Extremely) Men to you and I.

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Measurement

"It has a density of 0.171μm², EE Times reports."

Hmm. 291 (??) megabytes.

291x1024x1024x0.171e-6 = 52.18 square metres.

Surely 0.171pm² would be more accurate.

I think maybe you meant to write 0.171 (µm)².

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a square micrometres is an area not a density

The title says it all... describing square micrometers as a density is like calling litres a weight.

I guess describing units of measure accurately is just another thing that's become unimportant...

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Stop

Read it Again, Brainwrong

291Mega BITS.

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@brainwrong

1μm² means 1e-12m², so the () are implicit. "Square-micrometer" - it don't think "micro-square-meter" are official or even used anywhere.

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@F Seller

"I don't think "micro-square-meter" are official or even used anywhere"

It's horribly ambiguous, so I don't think anyone *should* ever do it. As it happens, I think 1μm² *ought* to be interpreted as 1μ(m²) because that's the precedence of the mathematical operations involved, and the nice thing about SI units is that they *are* mathematically well-behaved and so anyone who does anything to break that is a total plonker. That said, whenever I meet such things in real like I always apply sanity checks and it is usually obvious from the context that they are indeed plonkers.

For a related example, consider the "hectare", which is apparently 100 of some utter abomination called an "are" which is 100 square metres and (allegedly) the "official" derived unit of area in the metric system. Does that strike you as a remotely rational unit of area for a system that measures lengths in metres. Thought not.

Now can we get back to sensible units like nano-furlongs?

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Stop

@a square micrometres is an area not a density

It's implied - the area taken up are in units of area (\mu m)^2 ( or (\mu m)^2 if we're being annoyingly pedantic - it's not ambiguous at all...!), therefore if 1 things takes up area A its density [this thing being assumed to be 2d, not 3d] is 1/A (units of \mu m^{-2} ). In conclusion the measurement in square-micrometers carries across directly to the 2d packing density.

It's all a matter of what works - nobody started moaning on when all the Higgs related articles were saying the Higgs mass is expected to be ~ 130GeV. GeV is energy, but since this relates to mass via E=mc^2 we just write down the energy. Particularly useful when the thing's moving, since we need to separate the rest mass [energy] from the energy it has by virtue of its motion, excited degrees of freedom, etc.

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