IBM has unveiled a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process with the development of the world’s first chip announced with 2 nanometre (nm) nanosheet technology.
Semiconductors play critical roles in everything from computing, to appliances, to communication devices, transportation systems, and critical infrastructure.
Demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency continues to rise, especially in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and IoT. IBM’s new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand.
The chip is projected to achieve 45% higher performance, or 75% lower energy use, than today’s most advanced 7 nm node chips.
The potential benefits of these advanced 2 nm chips could include:
- Quadrupling cell phone battery life, only requiring users to charge their devices every four days based on current usage statistics for 7 nm-based cell phones
- Slashing the carbon footprint of data centers, which account for one percent of global energy use. Changing all of their servers to 2 nm-based processors could potentially reduce that number significantly.
- Drastically speeding up a laptop's functions, ranging from quicker processing in applications, to assisting in language translation more easily, to faster internet access.
- Contributing to faster object detection and reaction time in autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars.
“The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2 nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry,” said Dario Gil, SVP and Director of IBM Research. “It is the product of IBM’s approach of taking on hard tech challenges and a demonstration of how breakthroughs can result from sustained investments and a collaborative R&D ecosystem approach.”
The company’s semiconductor development efforts are based at its research lab located at the Albany Nanotech Complex in Albany, New York, where IBM scientists work in close collaboration with public and private sector partners to push the boundaries of logic scaling and semiconductor capabilities.
Increasing the number of transistors per chip can make them smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient. The 2nm design demonstrates the advanced scaling of semiconductors using IBM’s nanosheet technology.
The architecture is an industry first. Developed less than four years after IBM announced its milestone 5 nm design, this latest breakthrough will allow the 2nm chip to fit up to 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail.
More transistors on a chip also means processor designers have more options to infuse core-level innovations to improve capabilities for leading edge workloads like AI and cloud computing, as well as new pathways for hardware-enforced security and encryption.