Intel Corporation has announced that it has created an experimental tri-gate transistor and that it will discuss this prototype in more detail this week at a conference in Japan. Based on terahertz transistor architecture, the tri-gate transistor is a three-dimensional extension of this architecture. Semiconductors, which are manufactured by Intel, are made of millions of transistors, and these transistors switch on and off millions/billions of times per second in various combinations. The ever-changing production of these millions of on and off patterns provides the computing power of semiconductors.
The tri-gate transistor consists of three gates per transistor (industry standard is one gate per transistor), and the additional gates actually allow more electrical current to pass through the gates at a time. Electrical current flows across the gates, creating a `bridge’ between the power source and the power drain on the transistor. The flow of electrons passing through these gates, or the impedance of this pass-through flow, creates the ones and zeros that are the binary code of computers. Since more current can physically pass through three gates (versus one gate), semiconductor performance is enhanced. The tri-gate design also reduces some of the current leakage that is common with single-gate transistors. Current leakage becomes more significant as the size of single-gate transistors continues to be reduced. Intel’s competitors, I.B.M. and AMD, have been able to create two-gate transistors, but Intel holds the exclusive on the triple-gate transistor.