### Author Topic: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?  (Read 4064 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

#### Beamin

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1438
• Country:
• If you think my Boobs are big you should see my ba
##### 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« on: May 17, 2018, 01:15:26 pm »
Is that the limit of thing where uncertainty starts to take over? Where will things go when you can't go smaller? 3d chips? Whats the min number of atoms to make a transistor?
Max characters: 300; characters remaining: 191
Images in your signature must be no greater than 500x25 pixels

#### T3sl4co1l

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 14547
• Country:
• Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 10:12:52 pm »
FWIW, an atom is about 0.2nm across, give or take.

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!

#### srce

• Regular Contributor
• Posts: 116
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2018, 08:49:32 pm »
Whats the min number of atoms to make a transistor?
One. It was done a few years ago.

#### Circlotron

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1697
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2018, 09:24:37 pm »
FWIW, an atom is about 0.2nm across, give or take.

Tim
How much space is there between atoms? That is to say, how may atoms side by side to make up 10nm?

#### Beamin

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1438
• Country:
• If you think my Boobs are big you should see my ba
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 09:31:53 pm »
Whats the min number of atoms to make a transistor?
One. It was done a few years ago.

How? it must have all kinds of supporting circuitry. An atom really only has a ground state and a few oxidation states. Don't see how you could make a transistor that relies on the flow of electricity for that. That also doesn't seem practical more like a science experiment.

I know around 50 atoms the size is dominated by uncertainty and you can't rely on it behaving like its supposed to  because of tunneling.
Max characters: 300; characters remaining: 191
Images in your signature must be no greater than 500x25 pixels

#### T3sl4co1l

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 14547
• Country:
• Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2018, 02:48:41 am »
FWIW, an atom is about 0.2nm across, give or take.

Tim
How much space is there between atoms? That is to say, how may atoms side by side to make up 10nm?

None, that's the average radius when stacked up in a crystal or stuck together in a molecule.  For more info, check out: atomic bond length, silicon lattice constant, diamond cubic crystal structure, and so on.

So, we're talking a fraction of a million atoms in one of these transistors, give or take.  (Remember 10nm is the feature size, while a transistor is a few feature-sizes across.  The thickness or height can be less, however.)

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!

#### mac.6

• Regular Contributor
• Posts: 170
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2018, 04:16:05 pm »
remember that 10nm is not the size of the transistor, but the size of the minimal feature.
Things are pretty complicated when comparing different node/factory processes.

#### apis

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1668
• Country:
• Hobbyist
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2018, 06:16:25 pm »
Silicon, for example, forms a dimond cubic crystal structure; which means it has a repeating pattern of cells that look like this:

The side of such a cube is 0.54 nm. (As one can see, the shortest distance between two atoms is smaller than that though.)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:43:33 pm by apis »

#### blueskull

• Supporter
• Posts: 12880
• Country:
• Power Electronics Guy
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2018, 06:48:25 pm »
Below somewhere like 22nm, fabs stopped using the real nm values.
10nm simply means it's better than 14nm, and 14nm simply means it's better than 22nm.

#### TimNJ

• Frequent Contributor
• Posts: 810
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2018, 03:48:37 am »
Below somewhere like 22nm, fabs stopped using the real nm values.
10nm simply means it's better than 14nm, and 14nm simply means it's better than 22nm.

Interesting..but why? Because it's all the investors understand?

But from a technical standpoint, why can't they pinpoint the actual feature size?

#### blueskull

• Supporter
• Posts: 12880
• Country:
• Power Electronics Guy
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2018, 05:41:06 am »
But from a technical standpoint, why can't they pinpoint the actual feature size?

They can, and they provide such info in PDK, but investors want to see Moore's law to continue.

The following users thanked this post: TimNJ

#### TimNJ

• Frequent Contributor
• Posts: 810
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2018, 08:18:37 pm »
But from a technical standpoint, why can't they pinpoint the actual feature size?

They can, and they provide such info in PDK, but investors want to see Moore's law to continue.

Nice. So hypothetically we might actually be at an 18nm, but the investors we'll think we're at "10nm"?

#### Circlotron

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1697
• Country:
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2018, 10:30:58 pm »
If what the investors get told is only approximately the truth, is one company’s investor “10nm” the same as another company’s investor “10nm” ?

#### blueskull

• Supporter
• Posts: 12880
• Country:
• Power Electronics Guy
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2018, 11:50:23 pm »
Nice. So hypothetically we might actually be at an 18nm, but the investors we'll think we're at "10nm"?

Large investors are not stupid, but the public has less knowledge. The same for consumers.

If what the investors get told is only approximately the truth, is one company’s investor “10nm” the same as another company’s investor “10nm” ?

Correct. For the same nm value, Intel is usually better, then comes TSMC, then GF, in terms of gate pitch.
For instance, min. gate length Intel 14nm is actually 20nm, TSMC is 18~26nm, GF is 30nm.
Similarly, Intel 22nm is 26nm, TSMC is 30nm, IBM (GF) is 25~33nm.
I am not able to find min. gate length for 10nm, but gate pitch values are 54nm, 66nm and 68nm for Intel, TSMC and Samsung.

The following users thanked this post: electricForce, lem_ix, Beamin

#### Beamin

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 1438
• Country:
• If you think my Boobs are big you should see my ba
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2018, 04:00:33 pm »
Some doping agents in silicon are as little as 1/1,000,000. That would become a problem when working with 20 silicon crystal cubes as shown above and very hardtop control. To think at one point vacuum tubes were fiddley small to make.
Max characters: 300; characters remaining: 191
Images in your signature must be no greater than 500x25 pixels

#### NiHaoMike

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 5833
• Country:
• "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 04:13:55 pm »
Some doping agents in silicon are as little as 1/1,000,000. That would become a problem when working with 20 silicon crystal cubes as shown above and very hardtop control. To think at one point vacuum tubes were fiddley small to make.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.

#### T3sl4co1l

• Super Contributor
• Posts: 14547
• Country:
• Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
##### Re: 10nm chips? How many atoms per transistor?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2018, 06:22:41 pm »
Some doping agents in silicon are as little as 1/1,000,000. That would become a problem when working with 20 silicon crystal cubes as shown above and very hardtop control. To think at one point vacuum tubes were fiddley small to make.

No one's figured out cathode wear. Seems when you apply enough energy to rip electrons out, sometimes the atoms come too.

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!

The following users thanked this post: gildasd

Smf