IBM researchers have claimed a way to extend traditional chip-manufacturing processes to generate smaller chip circuits, potentially postponing the semiconductor industry’s high-risk conversion to an alternative.
IBM scientists have created high-quality line patterns using deep-ultraviolet (DUV) 193nm optical lithography for spaced ridges 29.9nm wide, below the 32nm point that industry consensus held as the limit for optical lithography techniques.
“Our goal is to push optical lithography as far as we can so the industry does not have to move to any expensive alternatives until absolutely necessary,” said Dr Robert Allen, manager of lithography materials at IBM’s Almaden Research Center.
Eventually, the whole chipmaking process will move to another paradigm. Before that happens, we’ll squeeze the last few years out of Moore’s Law. When Moore’s Law dies, exponential acceleration in computer chip speed will still continue. Moore’s Law only says something about the number of transistors on a chip. But in the future, our chips won’t consist of conventional transistors anymore. They’ll be built at the nanoscale, probably making use of crossbar latches.
Anybody who tells you that chip speeds will soon begin to come to a screeching halt, should definately Google up the other dozens of news articles that all report on methods to keep exponential gains going for quite some time to come.