Partners develop 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors

IBM Research scientist Nicolas Loubet holds a wafer of chips with 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors

IBM Research scientist Nicolas Loubet holds a wafer of chips with 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors

In partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. and GlobalFoundries, IBM said it has created the breakthrough process to build the world's first chip that will pack 30 billion 5 nm switches. These gates control the flow of electricity among individual transistors on the chip.

A 5-nanometer chip could perform about 40 percent faster than a 10-nanometer chip, given the same power settings, said Mukesh Khare, vice president of semiconductor technology research at IBM Research, in an interview with VentureBeat. Along with the 7nm chips, a new approach to producing transistor chips came into existence - the extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV).

IBM and its research partners have built the transistors on 300mm wafers.

Unfortunately, 5nm chips will not be arriving for at least another year, as the chip design is more a research and showcase by IBM that it is possible to extract performance out of such a tiny chip.

Jim McGregor of Tirias Research did not hesitate to call this a credible advance. "One is the lithography process, which we've been completely constrained on but we're slowly moving to EUV". This new method, created in tandem with research partners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung, changes some basic things about how chips are put together, and helps break a barrier with the previous process that essentially signaled the end of Moore's Law.

Using the latest FinFET technology, Samsung previous year began producing 10-nanometer chips for new electronic devices, including its own Galaxy S8 smartphone, which was launched in April. IBM has said that its 7nm node will be reaching "manufacturing maturity" towards end of this year, or early next year. Which is how we got into nanometer level manufacturing.

IBM has shown off the world's first 5nm (nanometre) processor chip, ready to usher in more powerful yet more energy-efficient chips in the next three years.

According to the announcement, the technology also provides an extra benefit. IBM, not surprisingly, is particularly focused on enhancing its cognitive computing and cloud platforms. Those fins, however, also limit how much space the transistors can safely take up. Intel says it will spend $7 billion to build its 7nm fab in Arizona, while GlobalFoundaries says it will shell out "several billion" for new tools to update its Malta, New York facility for 7nm production. Running concurrent to the exhibition is the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Conference, which attracts technical leaders and executives from global technology companies to reveal what is driving demand, and shaping novel technologies and new innovations at the cutting edge.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.