Chip-making technologies at the atomic scale have been added to an effort that charts the future of the semiconductor manufacturing industry every two years. According to a New York Times report, the transition to a nanotechology-based, post-silicon era is forecast in a report called the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, to be issued Saturday. The report is produced by semiconductor industry associations from the U.S. and other countries as a planning tool.
The latest version notes that while the use of nanotechnology is not expected to replace current chip-making processes for another decade, the shift it represents away from conventional silicon transistors has become an important part of the industry's thinking. It says that the urgency to move to molecular electronics is propelled in part by recognition that conventional technologies will not be able to sustain indefinitely the chip-industry dictum that projects a doubling of computing power roughly every two years.
According to the New York Times review of the report, the transition to new nanotechnology techniques could occur around 2015, when chip makers have exhausted their ability to shrink the wires and switches that make up the modern processors and memory devices at the heart of the computer, communications and consumer electronics industries.