A Moment of Science

Vertical Chips

You may not realize it now, but current computers are going to be obsolete in a few years. Find out how on this Moment of Science.

Vertical Chips on today’s Moment of Science.

You may not realize it now, but today’s computers are going to be obsolete in a few years. Before too long, there are going to be computer chips with processing power that will make what we’ve got now look like potato chips. The coming computers will use vertical chips, rather than the common microchips used today.

Current microchips are made by etching transistors onto wafers of silicon. Engineers make them more powerful by figuring out ways to make bigger silicon chips and smaller transistors. The more transistors, the more powerful the chip.

Instead of spreading smaller chips over a greater surface area, we’ll stack chips on top of each other. It’s like building a skyscraper instead of a shopping mall. Until recently, transistors worked best only when they were directly on the chip’s silicon surface. But new technology has allowed scientists to stack as many as eight layers of silicon and not disrupt transistors as they do their job. The potential for increased processing power is phenomenal.

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