Bell Labs creates smallest ever silicon device

Lucent Technologies said its researchers have produced the tiniest working electronic device ever made by using conventional silicon chip production technology.

The project shows that the technology, called optical lithography, can create devices with smaller features than previously believed, according to Lucent's Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

The experimental device, a flash memory cell, has features as small as 80 nanometers, Lucent said. Most semiconductor manufacturers are now using optical lithography that can create 180-nanometer features, and the industry has expected the technology to hit its physical limits at 120 nanometers.

Bell Labs said it believes that extending the life of optical lithography will help save money by postponing potentially costly moves to a new chip production technology.

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