Transistors are about as small as they can get. What now?

For most of the relatively brief history of modern computing, progress has been measured in shrinking by nanometers. By making transistors smaller and smaller, engineers have been able to pack more transistors on smaller chips. More transistors per chip mean faster, more powerful computers that can fit into smaller devices. These microprocessors have made possible the rise of modern consumer electronics, including the PC you’re reading this blog on and the smartphone in your pocket.

More than 40 years ago, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of chip-maker Intel, hypothesized that the number of transistors on microchips would double every year or so — and keep doubling. His theory became known as “Moore’s Law,” and its continued accuracy has depended on science’s ability to keep making smaller, thinner transistors. Now, however, experts generally agree that Moore’s Law is coming to an end.

Topics: research, development, moore's law, technology advancement, innovation

How a simple liquid changed the world

arc.pngIt may not look like much, but those little bottles contain one of the most important technological advances of the last 30 years. The 1970s brought an impressive wave of innovation in the United States. In particular, personal computers and electronics began to take root as a mainstay in the home and office.

By the end of the '70s, however, the semiconductor industry had hit a brick wall. As innovation pushed the envelope, current photolithography equipment wasn’t able to keep up. Manufacturers could not make integrated circuit (IC) features smaller than one micron, and no solution seemed evident.

Topics: moore's law, arc materials, anti-reflective coatings