While the quantum computing age may be “just around the corner,” traditional computing is not going anywhere anytime soon.
In fact, innovation there is increasing to keep up the promise of Moore’s Law.
Engadget takes a look at the process behind making microchips faster.
Microchips are one of the most complicated objects humanity has created, packing billions of transistors into a chip only a few centimeters across. These transistors keep getting smaller and more efficient, and the current process to make chips is already astounding, requiring dozens of steps, fantastically complicated machines, and atomic-scale precision. But the current state of the art has reached its physical limits. The structures on a chip are now smaller than the wavelength of light used to make them, and any more progress will require a big change.
That change is EUV, a radically new way of making chips that uses super high energy UV light created from a complex process involving plasma and lasers. EUV will enable our devices to keep getting smaller, faster, and more efficient, but where the current process to make chips already feels like sci-fi technology, EUV feels like magic.