Moore’s law of increasing computer power has been pretty consistant so far, but we’re now running into the problem that we just can’t build transistors any smaller or put them any closer together without having them short out. There’s been a number of proposed solutions to this bottleneck, including stacking transistors vertically, but as it turns out, we can make them smaller. You just have to go to the quantum scale and you can make semiconductors as small as two nanometers.
A team of researchers accomplished just that, using quantum mechanics to shrink these semiconductors — and set a new size record in the process — while also managing to keep them operating at room temperature (note: that photo above is from a different team’s study). The team of South Korean, Japanese, and British researchers at Chungbuk National University expect them to “enhance the capabilities of mobile electronic devices” — a mighty vague claim if ever there was one. Not one for modesty, lead researcher Choi Jung-bum proclaims that it “effectively changes the paradigm of such devices.”
There’s no word on when, or if, these super duper tiny transistors would go into production, but if you could imagine computers of today with billions and billions more transistors, that’s a hell of a speed increase.