January 16th, 2007


Nanotech soon to shrink semiconductors.

HP has come up with a nanotechnology breakthrough, using "nanowires" -- 15-nanometer-wide wires -- layered on top of conventional transistors to handle all the electrical connections needed for semiconductor manufacturing.

This advance would allow semiconductor manufacturers to make electronics up to eight times denser, while saving a considerable amount of power than current designs. Best of all, this nanowire interconnect technology could be used on the same sized transistors as those currently being produced today, making it unnecessary for semiconductor manufacturers to buy new fabrication equipment. As a result, HP expects this new technology to roll out rapidly, potentially by or before 2010. HP are currently working on producing a prototype chip using this approach, which they expect to have completed by 2008. 

They also believe that they can shrink this nanowire interconnect process tenfold by 2020, allowing them to create semiconductors up to 200 times denser than today's technology.

"What we're doing is extending Moore's Law by 10 to 15 years," said Konstantin Likharev, a physicist and pioneer in nanotechnology at Stony Brook University in New York, who helped develop the ideas behind the new nanowire interconnect technology.

And if you can't create amazingly powerful mobile devices with that level of advancement, then you're obviously using Microsoft's latest operating system. 

Update:  How small is a nanometer? Try holding your thumb and forefinger together as close as you can without them touching... and then divide that tiny distance up into about 100,000 pieces.That's a nanometer for ya. The nanowires mentioned in the breakthrough above are about 1/6000ths the width of a human hair, and totally invisible to the naked eye.