Intel has completed the development phase of its next-generation manufacturing process that shrinks chip circuitry to 32 nanometers. The chipmaker said yesterday that it was “on track for production readiness” of the faster, more efficient chips starting in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company promised more technical details at the International Electron Devices Meeting next week in San Francisco, but so far we know the new chips will use a second-generation high-K gate material to contain leakage current and transition to 193nm immersion lithography for critical patterning layers. The new production technology will enable the company to lower costs and power consumption in chips, while adding more speed and functionality.

The first chips to be built from it – codenamed Westmere – are expected to be die-shrink versions of the current 45nm Nehalem family of processors, as part of Intel's “tick-tock” strategy of alternating the introduction of a new chip architecture followed by a new process technology.