How the Aged Vacuum Tube Could Save Moore’s Law

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How the Aged Vacuum Tube Could Save Moore's Law

Jamie Condliffe writes: Moore's Law is under threat. In the battle between chip designers and the laws of physics, it's beginning to look like it won't be long before it's impossible to double the number of transistors on integrated circuits every two years. But there could be a solution, and it involves—of all things—good old vacuum tubes.

We're struggling to meet Moore's Law because we can't make transistors small enough; there just aren't the capabilities available to laser-etch them much smaller than they are right now and still have them work properly. In fact, to shrink standard transistors down small enough to keep Moore's Law alive, we need to control the deposition of atoms in silicon to within 10s of atoms—and that's close enough to the limits of physics that it seems practically impossible right now.

But a team of NASA researchers think they have a solution—in the form of the very same vacuum tube technology that transistors themselves superseded.

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