The End of Moore’s Law?

By Cebastian Thibodo


In today’s society, scientists and engineers are discovering nanotechnology, the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. In the “Science Daily” on February 19, 2012, a report of an international team of researchers at University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne have discovered the smallest transistor ever built (even created) using a single phosphorus atom. This is a breakthrough for nanotechnology and probably will change Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law is described as a long-term of history in computing hardware whereby the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively in an integrated circuit that doubles every 18-24 months. The process is made too double the performance of the chip(being a combination of the effect of more transistors). An example of Moore’s Law, the latest Intel chip, the “Sandy Bridge” uses 2.3 billion transistors, 32 nanometers apart. In comparison with the single phosphorus atom is just 0.1 nanometers, which would reduce the size of processors made using this technique, although it many take many years before this single-atom processor is actually manufactured.

There are some concerns that come to this single-atom processor. It has one limitation, it must be kept very cold, for example liquid nitrogen, or minus 391 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, “making the atom sit in a well or channel, and for it to operate as a transistor, the electrons have to stay in that channel“, Kilmeck says, a person on the research team says. At high temperatures the electrons move more and go outside of the channel. For the atom to act like a metal, the electrons must be contained in that channel.  If this happens, the technique could be used to build a computer that would work at room temperature. The project leader named Michelle Simmons, says that control is the key step in making a single-atom device.

With this new discovery, this single-atom processor could change electronics around the world. This research and technology is new and very exciting for many in terms of Moore's Law and nanotechnology. This technology can possibly bring it to its full potential and its exciting to see and hear.

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