Manufacturing a 2-nanometer chip has long been considered impossible. Now IBM has given counter-evidence. The computer company praises its development as crucial for the entire IT industry.
EThe manufacture of a 2-nanometer chip was initially considered inconceivable and then not feasible. Too small and too complicated, it was said for years. When a technical way was finally found to put into practice the idea of such a tiny calculator with structures that are thousands of times finer than a human hair, it was considered too expensive and economical mass production did not seem profitable.
Today, the biggest manufacturers in the $ 450 billion industry have these computing gnomes on their agenda. Apple already has a 5-nanometer chip in the latest generation of its laptops. Intel, TSMC and Samsung are setting up gigantic factories in America and Asia to manufacture 3-nanometer chips. Brussels wants to build a 2-nanometer chip plant in the EU with aid worth billions. IBM is now showing what it is all about. The IT group just presented the first 2-nanometer chip. With it he presents interesting solutions for the tricky problems around design and production.
Thanks to sophisticated 3D technology, the chip should accommodate no fewer than 50 billion transistors on the area of a postage stamp. That would be three times more than can be found on an M1 chip from Apple – currently the most powerful processor that is built into a commercially available computer. Transistors are mini-switches for controlling and amplifying low electrical voltages and currents. The more of these switches a chip has, the more operations it can perform in the shortest possible time.
“Crucial for the entire industry”
The IBM component was developed in the Research Lab in Albany, USA, and is said to be up to 45 percent more powerful than anything currently available. IBM promises that 75 percent less energy will be used than with a 7-nanometer chip that is found in smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, for example. The new nano-tiny could almost quadruple the running time of a cell phone battery. Darío Gil, Director of IBM Research, stated in a press release: “The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2nm chip is critical to the entire semiconductor and IT industry.”
IBM is mainly active in semiconductor research and less in mass production. It works with Intel, among others, for the development of the chips, and with Samsung, among others, to sound out the manufacturing processes. Even with 7- and 5-nanometer chips, the researchers and engineers at IBM were ahead of their competitors, but they only went into mass production after the competition. IBM wants to bring the new nanometer chip into production by 2024.