There’s been talk for a while that Moore’s Law is no longer applicable. The law is based on the idea that as transistors get smaller they get better. But with silicon based components the insulating layer in the gates is getting thinner as the transistors become smaller and the all important electrons can find ways through the too thin insulator. Then there’s the doping problem. No it’s nothing to do with sports participation but the process by which the silicon substrate is manufactured. Doping introduces impurities into the pure silicon to “tune” microscopic circuits, but as more transistors are packed onto the ICs the circuits get smaller and doping becomes problematic. The belief that we are reaching the limits of what silicon can support has been around for a while and the race has been on for some time to find a new material to support the microelectronics industry’s quest for smaller, faster, better.
Today though on the BBC website I found a report that Intel has shown a wafer using transistors just 22nm across, showing that there is still life in Moore’s Law yet. How much remains to be seen.