updated 02:00 pm EDT, Fri August 31, 2001
Amid rumors and speculation that it will close down its semiconductor operations, which produce the PowerPC 7400 series and other processors for Apple, Motorola has announced a breakthrough in chip design that will allow engineers to cram 50 percent more density into circuits. The new process uses "photomasks" to produce chip silicon wafers that will eventually be as thin as .05 microns. Current leading edge processor designs, including the Pentium 4 and PowerPC 7400, use silicon wafers that range between .11 and .15 microns. However, Motorola says it could be 2005 before the new method is used to develop desktop processors.