Improved chip technology: Bell Labs researchers in Murray Hill, NJ, have used an electron-beam

Improved chip technology: Bell Labs researchers in Murray Hill, NJ, have used an electron-beam system known as Scalpel to print 250-atom-wide microchip features--four times smaller than can be achieved with current chip-manufacturing techniques. The demonstration suggests that chip manufacturers may be able to pack more devices onto chips, even after current manufacturing technologies have reached their fundamental limits, which will likely happen by the year 2005.

"With current technologies," says Lloyd Harriott, head of the Bell Labs` research team, "chip designs ultimately will be limited by the wavelength of the ultraviolet light used to print features on silicon."

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