IBM Corp and Northern Telecom Ltd are collaborating on the design and deployment of next generation silicon and germanium (SiGe) semiconductors, accelerating the development of high-speed telecoms. SiGe is three-to-five times quicker than current generation silicon, and the power consumption is two times lower. It offers higher densities than gallium arsenide, and semiconductors can be manufactured cost-effectively in existing silicon fabrication facilities. Ottawa-based Northern Telecom is designing prototype microchips and devices to be manufactured by IBM, and the main markets are high-speed fiber transport, cellular and wireless applications. Our objective is to work towards developing advanced devices at commodity level costs, says Robert Hadaway, Northern Telecom’s director of technology access and applications. The deal is thought to represent a significant investment, though neither company would comment on costs. IBM and Analog Devices Corp co-developed SiGe, announcing it in May 1996 when General Motor’s Hughes Electronics Corp joined forces with IBM to manufacture chips for analogue applications operating at over 100GHz (CI No 2,912). Although there will be some overlap between Hughes and Northern Telecom, the two are concentrating on different market areas. The first implementation from Northern Telecom is expected to run at 50GHz.