IBM unveils 2-nanometer chip technology

May 06, 2021 // By Rich Pell
IBM unveils 2-nanometer chip technology
Tech giant IBM has unveiled what it says is a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process with the development of the world's first chip announced with 2-nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology.

The new 2-nm chip technology, says the company, helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing the growing demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The technology is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, or 75 percent lower energy use, than today's most advanced 7-nm node chips, based on the projected industry standard scaling roadmap.

"The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2-nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry," says Darío 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 potential benefits of these advanced 2 nm chips, says the company, 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 reportedly 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.

Increasing the number of transistors per chip can make them smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient. The 2-nm design demonstrates the advanced scaling of semiconductors using the company's nanosheet technology .

Its architecture is offered as an industry first. Developed less than four years after the company announced its milestone 5-nm design, this latest breakthrough, says the company, will allow the 2-nm chip to fit up to 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail.

More transistors on a chip


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