Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

February 13, 2007
Supplies of New Chip Metal Hafnium Remain Untested
Hafnium was unknown to nearly everyone but a handful of scientists and engineers until late January, when Intel Corp. and IBM announced their faster, more efficient microprocessors would be constructed using the silvery metal.

Yet the stable and benign element listed at No. 72 on the periodic chart accounts for the breakthrough to the next generation of semiconductor. Chipmakers eventually plan to install it in everything from servers to cellphones.

When working on such a minute scale, electricity tends to leak out of transistor circuits, resulting in power loss, and the silicon oxide material that hafnium replaces also leaks power. The new hafnium chips help reduce that power loss and lets chipmakers create ever smaller processors.

"The advantage of a small processor is it's faster and lower power, meaning your battery life will be longer," said Professor Tso-Ping Ma, chairman of electrical engineering at Yale University and a 10-year researcher on the new chips.

The hafnium-based semiconductor runs 20 percent faster, Ma said, and reduced leakage will mean five times the power savings.

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Where Is The Hafnium Craze?
Category: NEWS
By: Pete Kendall, March 19, 2007
Where were you when the fire went out? As the new universe of ETFs and other newfangled derivatives emerges to satisfy every speculative whim of the public, the fire that drove their creation is on the verge of a flame-out.
The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, May 2006
hafniumIn January 2007, Intel and IBM proudly announced a major new discovery in chip technology, proving that - as difficult as it had become to believe by then - Moore's Law indeed remained valid.  Hailed as the next great leap forward allowing doubling (or greater) speeds at much lower costs, the new use of the rare element "hafnium" is supposed to pave the way for the next round of innovation and productivity.
The reaction?  Investors yawned. 

This incredible breakthrough and technological proof against doubters who thought we'd seen it all merely jiggled the stock prices of Intel and IBM for a day or so.  Business and technology news sites that normally would have buzzed about the myriad implications for new products, programs and services, focused rather more on Apple's iPhone and its potential competition, entertainment downloads, and the new generation of wireless video and audio devices.  Instead, about all that turns up on a search is a mundane discussion about whether this may lead to an investment opportunity if there's a supply shortage for hafnium (and apparently, there isn't).

Perhaps it is significant that the element involved is called "hafnium," as it is generating less than half the excitement we would have seen for such a breakthrough even a couple of years ago.
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