Sunday, October 28, 2012

IBM Builds Carbon Nanotube Chip

IBM announced a breakthrough in building a semiconductor using carbon nanotubes instead of silicon.  IBM researchers created a device consisting of more than ten thousand working transistors made of nano-sized tubes of carbon.  Standard semiconductor processes were used to fabricate the device.

IBM has previously demonstrated that carbon nanotube transistors can operate as excellent switches at molecular dimensions of less than ten nanometers – less than half the size of the leading silicon technology. 

“Carbon nanotubes, borne out of chemistry, have largely been laboratory curiosities as far as microelectronic applications are concerned. We are attempting the first steps towards a technology by fabricating carbon nanotube transistors within a conventional wafer fabrication infrastructure,” said Supratik Guha, Director of Physical Sciences at IBM Research. “The motivation to work on carbon nanotube transistors is that at extremely small nanoscale dimensions, they outperform transistors made from any other material. However, there are challenges to address such as ultra high purity of the carbon nanotubes and deliberate placement at the nanoscale. We have been making significant strides in both.”

In November 2010, IBM announced significant advances in its path to integrate electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon. The new CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics, which is the result of a decade of development at IBM's global Research laboratories, promises over 10X improvement in integration density than is feasible with current manufacturing techniques.

At the time, IBM said it anticipates that Silicon Nanophotonics will dramatically increase the speed and performance between chips. In addition to combining electrical and optical devices on a single chip, the new IBM technology can be produced on the front-end of a standard CMOS manufacturing line. Transistors can share the same silicon layer with silicon nanophotonics devices. To make this approach possible, IBM researchers have developed a suite of integrated ultra-compact active and passive silicon nanophotonics devices that are all scaled down to the diffraction limit -- the smallest size that dielectric optics can afford. This makes possible the integration of modulators, germanium photodetectors and ultra-compact wavelength-division multiplexers with high-performance analog and digital CMOS circuitry. 

"The development of the Silicon Nanophotonics technology brings the vision of on-chip optical interconnections much closer to reality," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. "With optical communications embedded into the processor chips, the prospect of building power-efficient computer systems with performance at the Exaflop level is one step closer to reality."

  • In March 2010, IBM announced a Germanium Avalanche Photodetector working at 40 Gbps with CMOS compatible voltages as low as 1.5V. This was the last piece of the puzzle that completes the prior development of the “nanophotonics toolbox of devices necessary to build the on-chip interconnects.

  • In March 2008, IBM scientists announced the world’s tiniest nanophotonic switch for "directing traffic" in on-chip optical communications, ensuring that optical messages can be efficiently routed.

  • In December 2007, IBM scientists announced the development of an ultra-compact silicon electro-optic modulator, which converts electrical signals into the light pulses, a prerequisite for enabling on-chip optical communications.

  • In December 2006, IBM scientists demonstrated silicon nanophotonic delay line that was used to buffer over a byte of information encoded in optical pulses - a requirement for building optical buffers for on-chip optical communications.

    América Móvil Hits 319 Million Accesses

    Mexico-based América Móvil finished was serving 319 million accesses as of the end of September 2012,  up by 4.1 million wireless subscribers and 1.6 million fixed-line revenue generating units (RGUs) in the third quarter. This figure includes 255.9 million wireless subscribers, 30.3 million landlines, 16.7 million broadband accesses and 15.8 million PayTV units. Fixed-line accesses increased 11.3% year-on-year while the wireless subscriber base was up 6.0%.

    América Móvil  third quarter revenues were 193 billion pesos (US$14.8 billion), up 4.5% from the year before.  The yearly comparison is affected by the appreciation of the Mexican peso vis-à-vis the dollar and other currencies. At constant exchange rates, the company's service revenues increased 6.1% year-on-year— practically the same pace seen the prior quarter — driven by mobile data and PayTV revenues.

    América Móvil's net debt totaled 363 billion pesos at the end of the quarter, equivalent to 1.4
    times EBITDA (last twelve months).

    Capital expenditures amounted to 81.7 billion pesos *(US$6.28 billion).

    América Móvil operates under the "Claro" brand in most of its markets.  In the U.S., it owns TracFone.

    Ericsson's Global Services Now Represent 45% of Sales

    Citing tighter carrier spending on wireless infrastructure projects, Ericsson reported lower Q3 2012 revenue of 54.6 billion SEK (US$8.14 billion  ), down 2% YOY and down 1% compared to Q2.  Net income declined 42% YOY to SEK 2.2 billion, impacted by lower profitability in Networks.

    Ericsson cited weaker sales in parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia as well as continued decline in CDMA equipment sales.  This was partially offset by strength in North America.

    “Demand for Global Services and Support Solutions continued to be good, while Networks showed a decline in sales YoY. In North America Networks sales developed favorably, despite the expected decline in CDMA sales, while parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia continued to be slow,” says Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC). “The growing Global Services business contributes not only with topline but also with stable operating profitability and, together with Support Solutions, represented more than 50% of Group sales," stated Hans Vestberg, Ericsson's CEO.

    Some notes:

    Global Services grew 19% YoY and 1% QoQ. Global Services represented 45% (37%) of Group sales in the quarter compared to 44% in Q212.

    Network sales were down 17% YOY to SEK 26.9 billion (US$4.0 billion)

    Ericsson cited good traction for the Smart Services Router (SSR), with 13 new contracts signed compared to seven in Q212.

    Ericsson noted good growth for the its fixed and mobile IP portfolio, with accelerating demand for AIR, its antenna-integrated radio and part of the RBS6000 family.

    CDMA sales in the quarter amounted to SEK 1.6 b., a decline of -50% YoY and with lower operating margin than average in Networks.

    LTE rollouts are accelerating in Latin America, where Ericsson claims a 50% share

    ST-Ericsson is still in a challenging situation although performance improved
    in the quarter.

    Ericsson's total number of employees at the end of the quarter increased to 109,214 (108,095) due to the addition of service professionals mainly in India and the acquisition of Technicolor Broadcast Service Division.