Back in 1965 Gordon Moore the founder of Intel said that the number of transistors on circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Thus, making miniaturization a possibility. The industry mantra since has been to make things smarter, faster, cheaper and smaller. Is all that about to end? Press reports suggest that miniaturization is at a cross roads. Photographic processes have until now been able to lay patterns on circuit boards increasing the number of transistors on a silicon chip. These chips are getting congested with the current method of achieving the necessary patterns to get more on less. There is a new way to do it using Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV). EUV requires more investment ($100 million) with the technology costing twice as much as the current machines used to photographically produce the chips. This is a gloomy prognosis for continuing miniaturization from the industry.
However, is it all as gloomy as predicted by the industry? In the past few years smart phones have actually increased in size and other devices such as tablets which are larger have the potential to pack more into their 7 and 10.1 inch frames. Perhaps the industry has more time than it forecasts to innovate for the new era of mass manufacturing using EUV. Less is more through innovation and so perhaps Moore’s law prevails in the tablet market?