This Is the End of the Silicon Chip, Here’s What’s Next

Electronics keep getting smaller, and it’s
all thanks to electric switches called transistors. When these little fellas replaced vacuum tubes,
computers went from the size of entire rooms to merely the corner of a room. In the 60-odd years since, transistors have
kept shrinking, scaling down and powering up our electronics with them. But many think we are hitting a choke point…
what if we can’t make anything smaller?! Transistors have 3 terminals, a source, a
drain, and a gate. Current flows from the source and, if the
gate allows the electrons to pass, out the drain. You know how computer code is ones and zeros
at its most fundamental level? Well, this is where that physically happens. Current flowing through an open gate represents
a one, a closed gate and no current represents a zero. Pack thousands of these transistors together
and they can do calculations and act as a computer’s brain. Early computers had thousands of transistors,
but one way to build a better brain is to squeeze more transistors onto a chip, and
today’s chips could have billions. That means scaling all the parts of a transistor
down. Not only do smaller transistors allow for
a higher density, but it also means they can switch from on to off faster, so small is
good! Right now, commercially available chips typically
have transistors with gates about 14 to 20 nm across, depending on the chip. The problem is, as gates get thinner, quantum
mechanics (the physics that govern tiny parts of atoms) start to come into play. For example, if the gates are too thin then
they won’t be able to stop electrons because the electrons will tunnel through. Not in a literal sense, they don’t bore
through the gate like an escaped convict. They tunnel in the quirky quantum sense, where
essentially electrons disappear on one side of the gate and reappear on the other. Eat your heart out, Andy Dufresne. If the gate is supposed to be closed to current
– meaning a zero – and it ain’t, that’s a big problem. Researchers predict that the lower limit for
silicon gate is 5 nm, and by 2021 it won’t be economically efficient to keep shrinking
transistors. So, where do we go when the laws of physics
stop the march of technological progress? Well, the good news is, there are other ways
of improving performance. Machine learning could help develop more efficient
algorithms to use with current transistors. Or, we could switch to light based computers
with optical gates. That, could actually boost performance 20
fold, though the hardware is a bit larger. Or, we could stop using silicon. Researchers have managed to make a transistor
out of molybdenum disulfide with a carbon nanotube gate thats just one nanometer across. It gets around electron tunneling because
electrons don’t flow as fast through the molybdenum disulfide as they do through silicon. But, mass production would probably be expensive,
it was hard enough to make the proof of concept. The point is, progress can happen even if
we can’t shrink. Keep in mind when transistors were first used
in a computer they were 20 times more expensive than vacuum tubes. Even though transistors were much costlier,
computer scientists knew they had more of an upside in the long run, and look where
that led us! …Watching cat videos on your phone while
you avoid eye contact on your commute to work. Thanks nerds! Make these 0’s and 1’s on your computer
work hard by making your very own website with Special thanks to Domain dot com for sponsoring
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online and visit domain dot com. For more about the problems with ever shrinking
computers, watch this video on the end of Moore’s law and the whole new chip design they’re proposing. Fun Fact: The first point-contact transistor
was invented in 1947, and it was made from strips of gold foil, a plastic triangle, then
pushed down on a germanium crystal. Boy have we come a long way. Thanks for watching


  • Pointless Video FAIL!

  • their is better materials for chipsets it just isnt cost efficient to mass produce them.

  • Here's what's next, bullshit talk, pendejo.

  • I don't understand the part at 1:26 when he says "if the gates are too thin they won't be able to stop electrons", could someone please explain ?

  • Autistic Memester


    (I hope I don't see a john kaboly comment saying "the earth is flat flat")

  • 3D processors (multi-tiered) or light?

  • Quantum computing it is then we could strap it to our brains and watch cat videos while still avoiding eye contact on our way to work and everybody will just assume we're on crack

  • yes

  • Thumbs down for the misleading title.

  • Why not just make the chip a bit bigger ?. It’s not that we are that short of space .

  • man and machine will fuse. the age of the terminator is upon us.

  • Well time to move to Quantum Valley.


  • Quick FYI, the manufacturing process is 14nm (and shrinking down to 7 soon) and 12 is available. The transistors are actually much larger but we can laser etch the fins down to a width of 7ish nm or 14nm for the chips referenced in this video (First gen AMD 500 GPU's, first gen AMD Ryzen chips, etc.)

  • A transistor has 3 leads base, emitter and collector. A Mosfet has gat, source and drain.

  • So if they make any more silicon chips you are wrong ? You are so wrong that you even can not imagine how much. If you invent 100 000 better and faster technology right now, with proof and test examples and even build factory what is your prediction for how long would rest of the world continue to use and produce and even improve THE SILICON CHIP until we come to THE END OF IT ??
    Unliked, unsubscribed, thank you.

  • She said size dosen't matter

  • as he stated in the end that one of the best uses of technology, his example for amusement, is watching cat videos, while thanking nerds, you cant be more basic than that, so detailed info is secondary here, its mostly advertisement

  • So, no one told us what's next. Wasted time.

  • Nature has provided all of our technology needs. Mimic it. Use DNA

  • I am a snail….

  • cover me … friend

  • I'm happy I've learned why there's a lower limit, but I wish they had expanded upon actually "What's Next".

  • 3d stacking and quantum computing. Eventually we won't need more power, just better software.

  • BackFischKuchen

    A closed gate does not not represent a "zero". For a "one" a gate connected to the high voltage is open and for a "zero" the gate to the ground/low voltage is open.

  • The ultimate stuff is diamond, it has a energy gap of 5 volts, Si has a energy gap of 0,7v, and the heat conductivity is 10 times better. There is one problem, it's hard to make but not impossible.

  • You should update yourself, we already have a 7nm ARMs SoCs…

  • Truthfully I'm surprised we haven't used the engineering and technology that goes into to transistors on Silicon Wafers to make small and or Nano batteries that can be layers upon layers to increase energy density tenfold because what is a transistor BUT a p-type anode and n-type cathode battery essentially a bry voltaic pile on a microscopic even Nano scale but what do I know I'm just a dishwasher.

  • graphene? cpu in sli? quantum? performance servers with new streaming era upcoming.. one technology ends and the gate of new possibilities is open, with qualcomm entering pc industry intel amd nvidia (in that order) will begin panicking AND this is a good thing because it results in something new

  • If you're the driver avoiding eye contact in your commute to work is probably a good thing, otherwise that reference seems random lol.

  • 🤵🎬Gets a story That's trending Hmm ? gathers pics off some site OH ill make a youtube Video that 20 other have done b4 me haa 😳🙄👉😂

  • 4 minute video and a built in ad. Youtubers are becoming adwhores.

  • Khondker Rifat Hossain

    Why do we avoid eye contact with each other?? Even a smile is a charity….we should respect and appreciate our fellow Human beings. Just think how would be if there were no one around you

  • I mean we can make cpu’s bigger right so more transistors but a bigger cpu.

  • Na Qiong Trading LLP Na Qiong Trading LLP

    Hei, U Still never Explain 96 layer Samsung 970 Evo Plus stack up like Building 3D Vnano chip…!! Yet..How it Works…??

  • Got that el chapo guzman joke lmO

  • Well wasn't the issue the heat density got too high in Pentium 3 hence why we are all dual quad core trend? Smaller = more heat in small space = hotter than nuclear reactor.

  • Bibek Bhattarai

    How come we keep making chips smaller? Why dont we make the chips bigger? if the computer chips are bigger can you put more transitors or how the heck ya spell them

  • It's only for mosfets (gate drain source) for bjts it's colector, emiter, base.

  • Chinese scientists are developing a meterial known as meet qua which is unknown to western science

  • Optical gates would be super but can we at least get optical interconnects? This would save so much power and reduce so much heat. It isn't like this stuff already exists or anything. Come on Intel get off it already. GAs substrate is super dirty. I'm not sure that is really even an option for mass production of processors.

  • You just have provided a 1nm tightly compact information..Amazing…

  • Next technology: Memory Gel (this smiliar working like your brain, but it's simpler, and can mass production and this very cheap) But this only on future now 🙂

  • They know why I am killing.

  • Literally have a final on quantum tunneling in two days 😂😭😭

  • Your added advertisement is like vacuum tube.. it occupied considerable amount of time in your whole video

  • Final Apostate

    Graphene based Computers, Used by Google.
    Not accessible by the common Peasant, And all Triple A Videogames will be though Stadia ( and other Videogame streaming Companies )
    Because of the high performance of the internet and these servers… Theres no need for " Gamers " to have Consoles or Computers.
    I didn't think i would be around for this level of Control

  • Jungle conclusions….

  • 2019 anyone?

  • ranjith disanayaka

  • This guy knows nothing about the subject. Spintronics are likely next, and have been used in a limited capacity since the hard drive was invented. Optical circuitry has made faster progress, but not for home use, and spintronics are not far behind and made for commercialization. They use practically no energy and work about a million times faster than our current processors.

  • what about stacking chips and adding more?

  • Proof of concepts are almost always tremendously expensive. Then some jerk comes in and says "wow your dumb. Here let me do this in half the time and cost."

  • Krusty The Clown

    Just curious…Who is that Any Defraine? (00:01:42)

  • Kittywampus Drums

    Quantum tunneling happens by negative entropy doesn't it? So just add more energy(mass) to the gates and the electrons won't tunnel passed them.

  • Until we acheive or exceed 1-2NM in size there is no point in trying to go beyond silicon based semi-conductors. We've been readily exceeding Moore's law since it's inception.

  • Basically a rock we tricked into thinking. Nice.

  • Wrong not transistor it's mosfet who have drain source gate. Transistor have based emitter collector

  • Why didn’t you discuss other types of semiconductors like InGAs? Need infrastructure to get materials with higher electron mobility to be much cheaper and this starts from technologies to make harvesting raw materials more efficiently (cheaper chips)

  • Oof, 3rd Gen ryzen's on 7nm

  • Thanks for the shitty background music.

  • McKay Reed Moore

    I liked this video because of his shirt.

  • What a bs video. You wasted 4 minutes blabbing about nothing pertinent.

  • Transistors have three terminals: an emitter, a base, and a collector. Now, there's this fancy special kind of transistor, a field-effect transistor, that has a source, a gate, and a drain, and it happens that all our microprocessors these days are built from those fancy special transistors, instead of ordinary (bipolar) transistors – but you can't just say that "a transistor" is a field-effect transistor! By default, they're bipolar.

  • 1:15 I think you meant 12 to 14nm. Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and Devils canyon were on 22nm and the ladder of the 3 was released in 2014. Broadwell was released in 2016 with the 14nm process, then came Kaby lake, then Coffee lake, then Coffee lake refresh which is all on 14nm. On the AMD side, Ryzen 1st gen is on 14nm, Ryzen 2nd gen is on 12nm, and the 3rd gen is on 7nm.

  • transistir have base emitter and collector, MOS have source,gate and drain

  • Me: Seeing video to understand arm architecture and 8085A.
    ME: Reads Title
    Me : Surprised Pikachu face

  • This video is wrong on so many levels

  • Thanks nerds 😂😂😂😂😂

  • I really like and appreciate the fact that you waited until at the end of your video to talk about your sponsor. 👍👍

  • Samsung already announced their roadmap for 3nm for 2021… they'll be able to shrink it to 1nm before quantum tunneling is inevitable /too costly.

  • Why smart people called nerd . My god why its wrong to be smart

  • Machine learning and optical or molybdenum hmmm

  • This is the first video I've seen from your channel. I must say I got addicted to such an extend I can't describe. In it to learn more and more. Afterall knowledge is power! ☺️
    Looking forward to more about Electronics. That's my favourite topic.

  • what if we can't make anything smaller? up the die size. that way you can fit more cores and components inside. how? a lot of things can be done from like 3d stacking foveros-style, or chiplet design. with bigger area, comes bigger performance. more cores, cache, etc. = more performance. now, of course with bigger die, comes more problems as well, such as power consumption, thermal design, defects in manufacturing, and a whole slew of others. But hey, at least companies still can boast more performance and generational upgrades that way for quite some time.

  • This video is full of so much dis information its appalling

  • Unanib Azaqu Tahi El

    Semiconductor quantum computer
    Vacuum tubes quantum computer

  • There is of course an alternative for domestic users. I have a 15 year old laptop – 32bit!!! – that runs JUST FINE, but it's 32 bit of course.

    I dumped Windoze almost 30 years ago so today I STILL have a fully functional machine running Linux perfectly happily but can't even load let alone run Windoze.

    The industry can solve the physical problem TODAY for at least 15 years simply by putting Microsoft bloat and inefficiency in the bin where it belongs!

  • Freddy BronzeVille

    Why just stop? Just because we can make it smaller, doesn't mean we have too. We are not shrinking as species. Just improve existing.

  • One day they will wake up And
    Find the reason they are losing memory. Is because
    Nickel resonates In Different fields Longer , in All dimensions where gold , And copper lose there signal!

  • No one watches Cat Videos anymore! 3:00

  • Ok wrong . Transistors have a Emitter , collector and Base. Field effect transistors have a gate , drain & source. You need to be specific in your explanation on. The two semiconductors.

  • Amazingly shallow click-bait

  • The future of computers is laser via fiberoptic similar as what was found within the 1947 Roswell New Mexico UFO recovery

  • Don't think so

  • There is only ONE. ONLY ONE name worthy of being used for 4nm CPU.

    Mark my words, i will call ALL of such prosessors AMIGA, in honor of the forgoten powerhouse and amazing tech at the time.

  • … and a substrate (bulk) 😅

  • Technology node is not the gate thickness as shown… there's more to it than the channel length.

  • Neuralnets can only help to a certain degree but i wonder if a AI based optimization would work because of the complexity.
    By they way Samsung has 3 and 5 nm.

  • ryzen is at 7nm

  • when things start to get typical
    people start to mumble

  • Why always deal with nm go for more small.

  • TSMC going to 3nm

  • AMD sort of solved it..chiplets

  • Graphine is the future.

  • 14nm?!
    What are you, Intel?

    Even Smartphone chip is 7nm now,
    Oh wait, AMD chip is 7nm

    Pretty soon we'll have 5nm and hit the wall

  • If we had as many folks working on R & D as we have talking heads discussing it on YouTube, think of what we could get done!

  • Please do not make videos about shit you know nothing about… God my brain…

  • You're welcome nerd.

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