Into the Nano Era

Volume 106 of the series Springer Series in Materials Science pp 11-38

The Economic Implications of Moore’s Law

  • G. D. HutchesonAffiliated withVLSI Research, Inc.

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One hundred nanometers is a fundamental technology landmark. It is the demarcation point between microtechnology and nanotechnology. The semiconductor industry crossed it just after the second millennium had finished. In less than 50 years, it had come from transistors made in mils (one-thousandth of an inch or 25.4 microns); to integrated circuits which were popularized as microchips; and then as the third millennium dawned, nanochips. At this writing, nanochips are the largest single sector of nanotechnology. This, in spite of many a nanotechnology expert’s prediction that semiconductors would be dispatched to the dustbin of science — where tubes and core memory lie long dead. Classical nanotechnologists should not feel any disgrace, as pundits making bad predictions about the end of technology progression go back to the 1960s. Indeed, even Gordon Moore wondered as he wrote his classic paper in 1965 if his observation would hold into the 1970s. Semiconductors owe their amazing resilience to Moore’s law. To truly understand their greater impact, one must understand Moore’s law.