Tiny Phosphorus Wires Means Computers Can Be Smaller

Moore's Law can still be valid. Computer power can continue to double every two years. As the diameter of "wires" in semiconductors get smaller resistance to electrical flow increases. This was thought to be a real barrier to improving computer chips.

A team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, University of NSW and Purdue University in the US have made wires from phosphorus only four atoms in diameter. The tiny wires are encased in silicon and conductivity is retained.

When the diameter of conventional wires is reduced, resistivity rises exponentially. This means that as computer power has doubled so resistance has doubled. The conductivity in current computers is very poor. Silicon on the surface of the new phosphorus wire isolates it from the general environment, so the flow of electrons is unaffected and is not slowed down.

It will be some years before computer circuit boards can be made using the new technology. We are reaching the end-time for Moore's law, but the future holds the promise of smaller electronic devices.
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