Transistors are really, really small – or how often will I trip on a transistor in Östergötland

Noting that Östergötland (ostrogothia) – our home county, where Linköping with its university is situated more or less in the middle – is pretty circular. The radius of the county is some 70 km give or take. If it would correspond to a 12″ wafer filled with 14-nm transistors. What would it look like if we had place transistors all over the county?

Transistors are really, really small – or how often will I bump into a transistor in Östergötland

One of those counting exercises again to put things into a scale or so. During our European Horizon 2020 funded project meeting in Paris, smart-MEMPHIS, we discussed how we will bring our ASIC designs to the wafer scale for mounting and testing.

Now, I have to admit that our transistors are not 14 nm wide nor are the wafers 12 inch. But nevertheless, they are out there. So, assume we would indeed take one of those wafers and just pack it with transistors of that dimension.

The minimum channel length is in the order of 14 nm and the size of the transistor as such, the area it would occupy, could arguably be in the order of 50 by 50 nm. (I have not installed a pdk yet). Doing the maths we can see that we get approximately

10.000.000.000.000

transistors on each wafer. That means every citizen on earth get some 1024 transistors each to play around with. (And there are more than one wafer produced every year). The human brain has some 100.000.000.000 neurons. So approximately 128 transistors per neuron are offered.

See the picture below. Let us overlay Ostrogothia (Östergötland) and observe that the radius is some 70 km from the center (approximately Linköping) out to the coastal line and the “archipelago”. Giving the task to someone to place transistors correspondingly over the region would imply that (s)he has to place a transistors every inch (2.5 cm)! IMO that is pretty dense… and possibly also annoying when you go out picking mushrooms and flowers or what have you in the nature.

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One thought on “Transistors are really, really small – or how often will I trip on a transistor in Östergötland

  1. Pingback: When will we bump into a transistor everywhere? | Mixed-Signal Comments

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