IBM may have just extended the lifespan of Moore’s Law


Since 1965, we have held onto the belief that computing power will double every two years, as argued in a paper by Gordon Moore, the eventual founder of Intel. But in recent years, scientists have been straining to keep Moore’s Law alive, as we start to approach the physical limit of how small we can make silicon chips.

Today (July 9), IBM has announced it has proved it’s possible to produce chips just 7 nanometers wide—or about the width of a few strands of DNA.

[pullquote]”Staying on Moore’s Law is extremely difficult.”[/pullquote]

Past efforts to make chips this small have either required too much power to run, or haven’t been able to conduct electricity efficiently enough. IBM’s new process involves using Silicon Germanium—an alloy the company has been using since 1989—for its transistors, and a new way to etch the chips, called extreme ultraviolet lithography.

Dr. Michael Liehr (left) of SUNY Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Bala Haran (right) of IBM Research inspect a wafer of 7nm test chips in a clean room in Albany. Dr. Michael Liehr (left) of SUNY Polytechnic…

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