Tech

Moore's Law Predicts Transistors Will Stop Shrinking By 2021

By Victor Thomson , Jul 26, 2016 05:10 AM EDT

According to tech experts, by the year 2021, Moore's law will challenge further miniaturization in the semiconductor industry. Despite this, however, the progress will be ensured by using 3D packaging and cooling technologies.

Ars Technica reports that the final International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) report concluded that perhaps transistors will stop shrinking after the year 2021. However, Moore's law will probably continue by taking advantage of new technologies.

Since 1993, a collaboration of most of the world's major semiconductor companies has been practically producing TRS reports annually. The reports are considered as an authoritative roadmap predicting the future of computing. However, the 2015 roadmap will be the last.

The ITRS also tries to predict what processes and materials will be used in the semiconductor industry over the next 15 years. The companies involved in producing the reports hope that, by collaborating on such a roadmap, they can allocate their R&D money into the "right" technologies.

The last ITRS report concludes that despite transistors reaching their minimal limit, the industry can keep Moore's law going, but it will no longer be economically viable to miniaturize transistors after 2021. Since reaching the 65nm node back in the year 2006, the economic gains from moving to smaller transistors have been slowly decreasing.

Another challenge for the semiconductor industry is to find new ways to keep increasing transistor density. ITRS experts expect that by the year 2019, chip makers will begin to move away from FinFET, towards gate-all-around transistor designs. These transistors will become vertical a few years later, with the channel made of nanowire.

Digital Trends reports that, because nanowire technology makes it possible for transistors to go vertical,Moore's law may survive and the progress in the semiconductor industry can continue after 2021. While the miniaturization process may end up being challenged by thermals, new cooling solutions might be developed. It is certain that the next decade will bring new innovation in computing at a scale far more than we've seen in the recent past.

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