How small is a silicon chip?

|July 28, 2016 0

Soma Tah

We all love our smartphones, fitness bands and smartwatches. We love them more so because they are handy, easy to carry. The more smaller and sleeker they get, the more desirable they become.

But, have you ever thought what runs beneath and how small is the  chip that works as a brain of those gadgets? And more importantly, what it takes to make those handy and tiny form factors?

Semiconductor chips operate at an incredibly small scale. Practically measured in atoms, some feature dimensions are on the order of nanometers(nm) – that’s one billionth of a meter and more than 10,000 times smaller than the size of objects that can be seen with the naked eye.

The infographic below by Lam Research will definitely put your thoughts into perspective: You’d have to shrink a bicycle tire by about three times in order for it to be the same size as a soccer ball, then shrink that another three times to reach the size of an orange. Further shrinking would eventually lead to the components of an advanced transistor- a key ingredient of all digital circuits.

Microprocessors which are the heart of any device and contains tens of millions of microscopic transistors. The number of transistors in a processor determine its processing power.Lam Research infographic

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