Last we heard, IBM was busy extending optical lithography
down to 30-nanometers in order to keep Moore's Law intact, and some two years later, the process is still being honed by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. Reportedly, gurus there with IQs far greater than ours have developed a new patterning technique (plasmonic nanolithography) that could make "current microprocessors more than 10 times smaller, but far more powerful." Additionally, professor Xiang Zhang asserts that this same technology could eventually "lead to ultra-high density disks that could hold 10 to 100 times more data than disks today." The secret to the madness is a flying plasmonic head, which is compared to the arm and stylus of an LP turntable; the setup enables researchers to "create line patterns only 80-nanometers wide at speeds up to 12-meters per second, with the potential for higher resolution detail in the near future." In layman's terms? That CPU you purchased last month will, in fact, be old hat in due time.