just how small can transistor size on a chip get?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Quimby2016, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Quimby2016

    Quimby2016 n00bie

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    Isthere going to be a size that actually might be too small for electrons to pass thru?. what then is chip evolution dead then?
     
  2. ryan_975

    ryan_975 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Size isn't constrained by the size of the electrons (they're point particles, so they don't actually have a size. though traditionally they're considered to have a radius of 1fm or 0.000001nm), but rather the size of an insulating material's ability to block the passage of said electrons. IIRC for silicon, that's about 5nm.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  3. Quimby2016

    Quimby2016 n00bie

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    thank you for the info it was interesting .
     
  4. gamerk2

    gamerk2 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Pretty much this; below 5nm or so electron leakage becomes a major limiting factor; there's still the thought 4nm/3nm might be possible, but there's only so much you can do when your fighting the laws of physics.
     
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  5. lasserith

    lasserith Limp Gawd

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    Just remember that 3 nm number has nothing to do with nodes. 10nm node minimum pitch is 32 nm.

    Edit: For Intel. For others it's all a clusterfuck.
     
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  6. TheBloodEagle

    TheBloodEagle n00bie

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    Wanted to throw in that if it ever becomes a huge problem, we could move onto optical transistors and photonic interconnects (this work is already being done), thus mitigate it.
     
  7. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    This ^

    Electricity isn't dead yet though. Even if they can't shrink transistors more, they can switch materials to get better performance.

    Whether electrical or photonic (or a mix), we can also start going more and more 3D, as we're already doing with flash storage.


    Anyway, we are quickly reaching the inflection point where the chip designers/fabs have to aggressivley pursue one or more of those paths instead of simply shrinking the transistors more.