Chip manufacturing processes are getting tiny. In terms of available products, Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs feature the smallest process at 22 nanometres. However, while the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) reckons we’ll hit 14nm by 2014 and 10nm by 2016, it’s getting progressively harder to achieve these milestones.
Thankfully, there are clever folk at organisations like CSIRO working eternally on the problem.
In collaboration with MIT and the University of California — Los Angeles in the US, as well as RMIT and Monash University in Victora, CSIRO has come up with a way to use molybdenum trioxide as a conductive nano-material. By using layers of the crystalised oxide, researchers were able to pump electrons through the material at “ultra-high” speeds with minimal scattering, the benefits of which are explained below:
RMIT’s Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said the researchers were able to remove “road blocks” that could obstruct the electrons, an essential step for the development of high-speed electronics. “Instead of scattering when they hit road blocks, as they would in conventional materials, they can simply pass through this new material and get through the structure faster,” Professor Kalantar-zadeh said.
“Quite simply, if electrons can pass through a structure quicker, we can build devices that are smaller and transfer data at much higher speeds.
According to CSIRO’s press release on the development, there’s still a ways to go before the technology we’ll make its way into regular gadgets, but at least it’s a start.