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Electronic Chips

2023-03-02 00:00:00 / episode: 45

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Script

Electronic chips. These are the chips that are in your computers and in your smartphones and in your car, believe it or not, electronic chips are the things that we use to make computers and do computing with Electronic chips have been getting smaller and smaller over the past 30 or 40 years. And there's a law that says they will keep on getting smaller every 18 months. They'll get significantly smaller. However, it seems like we might be getting to the end of that. Why? Well right now the chips that are in your smartphone are probably about 10 nanometers big for each circuit, 10, 9, 10 nm is really small. And some of the pushing technology, the leading edge technology is bringing the transistors in the chips down to even three nanometers and even two nanometers, it can't get much smaller than that because that's getting down to about the size of an atom and you can't make a circuit smaller than an atom because the circuit is made up of atoms. Why do we want them so small? Because they go faster. They use less energy. So we can compute faster and spend less money on it. But one of the problems with these tiny tiny circuits is they get hotter and it's incredibly hard to make them that small. Are we running out of smallness? It sort of looks that way right now we can't get smaller than the atoms. So once we get down to two nanometers or one nanometer, we can't make the chip smaller. So they won't get faster and they won't get cheaper. They'll probably be more expensive. But on the other hand, we didn't even know we could make these 60 years ago. So who knows what the next 60 years will bring. Maybe we'll get some new technology that can make our computers even smaller and even faster. We'll just have to wait and see.