The smallest transistor ever built has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne.The latest Intel chip, the “Sandy Bridge,” uses a manufacturing process to place 2.3 billion transistors 32 nanometers apart.
A single phosphorus atom, by comparison, is just 0.1 nanometers across, which would significantly reduce the size of processors made using this technique, although it may be many years before single-atom processors are manufactured.
“To me, this is the physical limit of Moore’s Law,” Gerhard Klimeck, who directed the Purdue group that ran the simulations, claims. “We can’t make it smaller than this.”
According to University of New South Wales Prof. Michelle Simmons, “We made a single-atom transistor roughly 8 to 10 years ahead of where the industry’s going to be,” consistent with Moore’s law, in 2020.