To put these dimensions in perspective, you must first know what nanometers are: a nanometer is 0.0000000000001 meter, or 10−9 mr. To put this in perspective, a human hair is about 0.08 millimeters thick, a red blood cell is 5 microns, or a (non-computer) virus is around 100 nanometers. Already at this scale, we have that proteins measure 10 nanometers or that lipids measure around 5 nm. So that we understand each other, a 1 nm lithography I would make transistors 100 times smaller than a virus.
What about 1nm lithography?
Manufacturers are currently having quite a few issues with 10nm manufacturing nodes, although 7nm is already dominated by some manufacturers and 5 and 3 nanometers are on the way. However, at this point we are already starting to talk about decimals (2.5nm) as it gets more and more complicated, and yet all major manufacturers have in their plans to reach not just 1nm but keep reducing
Reducing the size of transistors is essential in order to be able to incorporate a greater number of them on the s ame surface, thus improving energy efficiency since performance is improved while maintaining or even reducing consumption. This creates other issues such as the density with which heat is generated, but that’s another question: what we all know is that the point is to keep scaling down those transistors that are like neurons in the brain but in a processor. .
Obviously below 1 nm we will have to stop using nanometers as a scale (or use decimals, of course) and we’ll use the picometers
Molecular material, the future of lithography
When we think of a molecule, we always have something extraordinarily small in mind, so much so that it can only be seen with a very powerful microscope or highly specialized equipment. No obstante, también hay que tener en cuenta que una molecules no siempre tiene escala atómica, y solo hay que ver el DNA humano, algo que no podemos ver a simple vista pero que si se estirara por completo podría llegar a medir hasta 3 meters from long.
However, we can effectively also put the opposite example, such as a water molecule (H2O) which has a diameter of about 0.275 nanometers, and this reference is precisely the one that has been working for a long time because a future lithograph would literally be 0.3 nanometer., A third of a 1nm lithograph that we haven’t even reached yet. Can you imagine how many transistors would correspond to the size of a normal processor?
The point is, lithograph development won’t be finished in 1nm, and in fact, they’ve been looking for sub-nanoscale fabrication lithographs for quite some time. However, we are still far from it because, among other things, to achieve something like this, you have to work at cryogenic temperatures and they have not yet found a way to create communication channels at the molecular level. They are in it and we repeat that we are still far away, but to get there, we will get there.