Silicon Valley has reached the limit for using silicon dioxide in computer chips. To shrink microprocessors to the 45 nanometer scale, Intel is using a high-K hafnium dielectric material and a secret mixture of metals that allow twice as many transistors to fit in the same space. Moore's Law states that the number of transistors in a microprocessor will double every two years.
Four hundred of Intel's 45nm transistors could fit on the surface of a single human red blood cell. The period in this sentence could hold two thousand. Intel will release its new family of processors named Penryn this year. Their quad-core chip will contain 800 million transistors.