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July 2, 2013

Andrea Morello Explains Moore's Law and Quantum Computers

Moore's Law and Silicon Transistors

 Moore's Law
In a lucid set of videos, Professor Andrea Morello of the University of New South Wales, in Australia discusses how silicon transistor technology operates under Moore's Law.

It is central to the concept of the technological Singularity, and we mention it here often, but what does Moore's Law actually mean?

In a lucid set of videos (below), Professor Andrea Morello of the University of New South Wales, in Australia discusses how silicon transistor technology operates under Moore's Law.

As in the image above, Morello shows how a transistor is currently made in current semi-conductor technology.  Each transistor acts as a switch, connecting the source and drain non-mechanically. The distance between the source and drain is what has been reducing exponentially over time, allowing more transistors to fit on each chip.

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Currently, chips are mainly produced at the 22 nanometer distance.  At this level, there are about 50 silicon atoms between the source and drain.

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) 2006 Front End Process Update indicates that equivalent physical oxide thickness will not scale below 0.5 nm (about twice the diameter of a silicon atom), which is the expected value at the 22 nm node. This is an indication that CMOS scaling in this area has reached a wall at this point, possibly disturbing Moore's law.

On the ITRS roadmap though, the successor to 22 nm technology will be 14 nm technology.

By 2020-2025 there will only be a handful of atoms between the source and gate and quantum mechanics will limit any further size two-dimensional size reductions.

Moore's Law Graph

One way Moore's Law will be overcome will be to create semiconductors into the third dimension, as is already being done with the Ivy Bridge chipset from Intel.

Morello then goes on to explain how the shrinking of silicon transistors to the atomic scale inherently introduces quantum mechanical effects. For Morello, quantum computers are not on the same evolutionary path as classical computers and Moore's Law.

Morello is an electrical engineer and a quantum physicist. He is Associate Professor in Quantum Nanosystems with the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, and a Program Manager in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). His research is aimed at building a quantum computer based on single spins in silicon.

Morello heads the Quantum Spin Control group at CQC2T. His research is at the forefront of quantum technologies, with the world-first demonstration of single-shot spin readout in silicon, and more recently the first spin quantum bits based on the electron and the nucleus of a single phosphorus atom in silicon. His group is actively developing advanced techniques to observe and control the interaction between two qubits and develop a quantum logic gate, as well as the transport of quantum information across a silicon crystal. Andrea and his team have quickly gained international recognition for their research breakthroughs, and collaborate with world-leading groups at Oxford University, Walter-Schottky Institute, Sandia National Laboratories, Purdue University and others.

SOURCE  Technyou, Veritasium

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