Gordon E. Moore was one of the co-founders of Intel and first proposed was came to be known as Moore’s Law, which predicted that computer power would double every 2 years.
For nearly 50 years, the industry kept pace with this prediction, but in recent years there’s been a slowdown. 2 main reasons are heat and the quantum tunneling effect that occurs at the atomic scales.
Some of the technologies that have been theorized to break through this barrier include:
Graphene processors. Graphene carries electricity far better than traditional silicon processors, but is currently very expensive to produce.
Three Dimensional Chips. Some manufacturers are experimenting with 3-D chips that combine processing and memory in one place to improve speed.
Molecular transistors. Transistors that use a single molecule to transfer electricity.
Photon transistors. These take electrons out of the process entirely and replaces them with laser beams.
Quantum computers. These long-hyped machines could perform multiple calculations at once by using the superposition of quantum particles to process information.
Protein computers. These use folding proteins to make calculations.
And finally, DNA computers. DNA is the perfect data storage device, allowing scientists to store 700 terabytes of information in only one gram. But it can also be used in logic gates and are being tested in a processing capacity.
Computerphile on the physics of computer chips
Computerphile on the end of Moore’s Law:
Michio Kaku on Moore’s Law