Researchers at MIT are working on a new technology that uses focused beams of light for chip manufacturing on a scale far smaller than what companies like Intel are currently achieving. By using light interference patterns, the researchers believe it's possible to make interconnects and transistors that are just two to three nanometers wide. That's more than ten times smaller than the 32nm chips Intel and AMD are working on.
The MIT researchers said their new approach enables extremely narrow lines to be drawn by combining beams of light at different wavelengths. The technique uses so-called interference patterns, in which different wavelengths of light sometimes reinforce each other while canceling each other out in other locations on a chip.
The technique is still as much as five years away from commercial use, the researchers said. But they claimed that once it's perfected, it could enable chip makers to build interconnects and transistors with lines as narrow as a single molecule, or just two to three nanometers wide.