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Noted in Passing: Not chips off the old block any more

Chip Shortage 2021: Semiconductors Are Hard to Make and That’s Part of the Problem

Chip companies try to pack more transistors into chips, enhancing performance and making devices more power efficient. Intel’s first microprocessor—the 4004—was released in 1971 and contained only 2,300 transistors with a node size of 10 microns, or 10 millionths of a meter. But Intel’s undisputed leadership of the following decades ended between 2015 and 2020 when rivals Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. started building chips with better transistors: ones with dimensions down to 5 nanometers, or 5 billionths of a meter (for comparison, an average human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide.)

Chips consist of as many as 100 layers of materials. These are deposited, then partially removed, to form complex three-dimensional structures that connect all the tiny transistors. Some of these layers are just one atom thin. Machines made by Applied Materials Inc., Lam Research Corp. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. juggle a host of variables, such as temperature, pressure, and electrical and magnetic fields, to make this happen.

One of the most difficult parts of the process is lithography, which is handled by machines made by ASML Holding NV. The company’s gear uses light to burn patterns into materials deposited on the silicon. These patterns eventually become transistors. This is all happening at such a small scale, the current way to make it work is to use extreme ultraviolet light, which usually only occurs naturally in space. To recreate this in a controlled environment, ASML machines zap molten droplets of tin with a laser pulse. As the metal vaporizes, it emits the required EUV light. But even that is not enough. Mirrors are needed to focus the light into a thinner wavelength.

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  • Dirk January 10, 2022, 10:30 AM

    Kstans govt just collapsed, the ruling class is fleeing for other countries.

    WWIII ?

    Tic Toc!


    • Dirk January 10, 2022, 11:38 AM

      We ordered a new truck, six to eight months out. Chips are the issue.

      Make no mistakes, these “ Issues” ARE by design, baked in, to achieve a desired outcome.

      If I were you all, I’d be continuing to long term store beans bullets bandaids. Developing five/ten bug out locations.

      Logically “ at least in my pea brain” this all leads to one outcome globally and within the US.

      We inventoried some of our canned fruits, yesterday,,,, some purchased in 2010, still tasty, we have discovered the small double serving “ pull top” cans of pears and peach’s are starting to leak. After research believe the issue to be the pull tops to be the weak link, out of fifty plus cases of#10 can” cases”, zero leaks detected.

      The Smaller servings size cans, like 6 ounces? We’re purchased for the ease of the pull tops. I eat a can of peach’s yesterday, tasted fine. No runs this morning, always a good sign.

      Rather then trash entire cases, we’ll continue to monitor, and remove single cans which demonstrate leaks.

      Also much of our med supplies are out of date. After review all the combat bandages Israeli bandages, other blood clot powders and stuff bandages. Also sutures are wayyyyy out of date. However the packaging is still air tight sealed well. It is our thoughts that while not ideal, the kits are still functional.

      We will slowly replace yet keep this older kit as secondary kit. Did replace several older tourniquets, in all our vehicles. Again the older ones are discolored, yet appear to be usable. The stitching and Velcro appear to be in solid working order.

      We ordered 12 bicycle tires and 24 tubes, plus newer patch kits. Just use motorcycle chain oil to lube chains. The panniers are older now, yet in great shape. Years ago I collected/ purchased oooo a dozen bicycles mostly ten speeds, in fact mostly Early mountain bikes, with simple front forks. They were dirt cheap, then, not so now. Everything’s expensive to include bicycles. Seems we got the timing right back then.

      Have a few early Schwann Varsity’s. A very robust bicycle as are the early mountain Bikes.

      The Viet Cong kicked our asses wearing flip flops and riding/pushing bicycles. With very well thought out panniers. A valuable lesson for anybody wanting to better learn.


    • Mike Austin January 10, 2022, 11:49 AM

      Not World War III. More like Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies.

      • Dirk January 10, 2022, 12:08 PM

        Mike, the world has seen these issues before. Not long ago it was an obscure Duke, shot and killed which allegedly lit the world on fire. As mentioned by others none of this is coincidental.

        What better way to keep Russia out of Ukraine. Kstan Goes hot.

        Biden and his admin talking tough, talking war with Russia, pretty bold talk for an admin of losers.
        This isn’t about what’s best for our nation, this booger eater wants his name cemented in the history books. Frankly I think he’s achieved that goal. We will never see a president as mentally challenged as this shit for brains.

        A big big mistakes about to be made.

        • Mike Austin January 10, 2022, 12:39 PM

          There are certainly odd things afoot about which I know nothing. As for Kstan causing World War III? Men cause wars but use side issues upon which to levy blame. And if such a war comes upon us? How will it be waged? I cannot say that I would blindly support the US Military in all of its doings because it is not an American military. It is comprised and commanded by foreigners. In olden times a military defeat would spell the end of a ruling caste. Today, if such a result would come from war with Russia, then bring it on.

  • Walter Sobchak January 10, 2022, 1:02 PM

    ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country’s most notable sights — the blazing crater widely referred to as the “Gates of Hell.”

    The crater located about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital, Ashgabat, has burned for decades … a 1971 gas-drilling collapse formed the crater, which is about 60 meters (190 feet) in diameter and 20 meters (70 feet) deep. To prevent the spread of gas, geologists set a fire, expecting the gas to burn off in a few weeks. …

  • Michael Gannon January 11, 2022, 7:55 PM

    Once upon a time about 15 years ago, my brain devised a way to visualize how big an Intel 486 processor would be if you scaled up the individual processor lanes to be the size of standard corn rows. (Hello from the Midwest!) That scaling produced a processor that covered a good chunk of the northern part of Indiana.