How small will electronic components get?

09 September 2007


How small will electronic components get? There must be a limit to the size they can become?


There definitely is a limit, because if you get too small then electrons can 'tunnel' between two wires which are too close together. That limit is somewhere around 10-50 atoms wide. There's a thing called 'redwall', where the semiconductor industry are making smaller and smaller microchips, with increasing numbers of transistors on them, but they predict that around 2012 they will no longer be able to make chips any smaller. However, new technologies may yet find ways to shrink things even further.

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