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Samsung Develops New Technology For Memory Chips

Samsung Electronics last week announced that it has completed development of a manufacturing process that will pave the way for production of 4-gigabit computer memory modules. A spokesman for Samsung said the Korea-based chip manufacturer sees such components as the next phase in the global semiconductor market. The new technology, which uses a 0.13 micron process, is the first of its kind. Processors manufactured using the new process would not only be smaller but would be capable of holding more transistors. The last such improvement, developed by Samsung almost two years ago, used a 0.18 micron process to create 1-Gb chips. But don't expect to see monster memory chips on store shelves any time soon. Since many manufacturers are still using a 0.25 micron process, the PC industry, which is still in the process of adopting 64-Mb as a standard chip, very likely also will adopt 64-megabyte, 256-megabyte and 1-gigabyte chips first. Those chips will be manufactured using the 0.18 micron process. On the other hand, Samsung said the 0.13 micron process is fully compatible with current lithography equipment using excimer lasers, meaning the new technology can be applied to some equipment currently in use. Lithography is the technology for etching circuit patterns inscribed on a mask onto the wafer surface. Different kinds of lithographic equipment utilize different light sources, which determine the diameter of the lines that can be made. Samsung already has converted some of its equipment to use the new 0.13 micron technology and has used it to produce fully functioning 16-megabyte chips. Because the new technology greatly will reduce the financial risk associated with advancements in the semiconductor industry, not only will manufacturers be able to produce processors less expensively, but the next generation of chips may be delivered years ahead of schedule. A thumbnail-size chip manufactured under the new process would be capable of storing the content of about 32,000 standards newspaper pages, or about 64 hours of sound using circuits more than 800 times thinner than a human hair. Microsoft Releases Preview Of New Internet Explorer For anyone who wants an idea where Microsoft is headed in the Internet browser market, the company has released a developer preview of Internet Explorer 5.0. The release is designed to give Web authors and other developers a head start in taking advantage of Internet Explorer's platform improvements. While Internet Explorer 4.0 supports technologies and standards, such as Dynamic HTML, document object models, cascading style sheets, ActiveX, Java and JavaScript, the company said that Internet Explorer 5.0 will extend these technologies to give developers and content providers easier means of building applications and providing information to users. One major improvement, says Microsoft, is dynamic HTML behavior, which makes DHTML functionality more accessible and easier to use within a document. Other additions include development and accessibility enhancements, script encoding and enhancements to tables, object model additions and HTML application support. The preview release is available to anyone, but is primarily meant for Web developers and programmers. Based on feedback from users who download the software, a beta version of the browser is will be released in the next few months.

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