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‘Super silicon’ outfit confirms AMD link

Isonics in talks with other chip makers

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Last week, The Reg reported that, for over 12 months, AMD had been producing test chips using a new, pure version of silicon with greatly enhanced thermal properties, making a 1.7GHz Palomino a more practical proposition.

Today, the boss of the Californian company responsible for the 'super silicon', reacting to increased stock activity, attempted to clarify the situation.

Isonics' Chairman & CEO, James Alexander said: "We believe the driver for the increase in activity of Isonics' common stock are discussions about Advanced Micro Devices' evaluation and use of Isonics' isotopically pure silicon-28 wafers. In the spirit of fair disclosure, we believe it is appropriate to comment and clarify the factual situation.

"In several instances we have stated that a major microprocessor manufacturer's model has indicated that a 35 degrees C peak temperature reduction could be achieved using a bulk silicon-28 wafer in place of a natural silicon wafer for a 1GHz microprocessor. Other modelling leads us to believe that a substantial part of that temperature benefit could be obtained with a silicon-28 epitaxial layer on a natural silicon substrate.

"On April 27, 1999, the Company announced that it delivered silicon-28 epitaxial wafers to AMD. On September 21, 2000, Isonics announced that it had delivered silicon-28 epitaxial wafers to a second microprocessor manufacturer in addition to AMD. We can confirm that Isonics has on-going business discussions with AMD and a number of other microprocessor and semiconductor manufacturers.

"We believe that we will enter into one or more licensing or development agreements by the end of our fiscal year ending April 30, 2001. We believe that there are excellent chances we will meet this objective.

"We are presently focused on substantially increasing our capability to produce silicon-28 epitaxial wafers to levels required to support typical commercial applications. Much of this will be done on an out-sourced basis. It will be necessary for us to invest in some additional in-house processing capacity to manufacture silicon-28 silane and trichlorosilane from enriched silicon-28, which we intend to purchase from a number of suppliers.

"As always, we are working to introduce silicon-28 to a wide range of potential customers with the goal of obtaining commercialisation at the earliest possible time."

Related story

AMD tests 'super silicon' to beat heat

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