The iconic Moore’s law has predicted the technological growth of the chip industry for more than 50 years. When ECS member and co-founder of Intel Gordon Moore proposed the law, he stated that the number of transistors on a chip would double every two years. So far, he’s been correct.
But researchers have started hitting an apex that makes keeping the pace of Moore’s law extremely difficult. It has become harder in recent years to make transistors smaller while simultaneously increasing the processing power of chips, making it almost impossible to continue Moore’s law’s projected growth.
However, researchers from MIT have developed a long-awaited tool that may be able to keep driving that progress.
(READ: “Moore’s Law and the Future of Solid-State Electronics“)
The new technology that hopes to keep Moore’s law going at its current pace is called extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Industry leaders say it could be used in high-volume chip manufacturing as early as 2018, allowing continued growth in the semiconductor industry, with advancements in our mobile phones, wearable electronics, and many other gadgets.
This from MIT Technology Review:
The industry has pushed the existing technology, which uses light that’s 193 nanometers in wavelength, to its limits. To keep up progress in the latest generation of chips, Intel and other companies had to use multiple patterning steps for each layer in a chip. Each of these steps—and the necessary masks—adds time, complexity, and expense. Using shorter wavelength EUV light would bring some relief.
Researchers believe that with this process, we’ll begin to see faster progress regarding the acceleration of chips.