Saturday, 08 May 2021 07:12

IBM announces world's first 2nm process for semiconductors Featured

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A 2nm wafer. A 2nm wafer. Courtesy IBM

Global technology provider IBM has announced it has developed the world's first two nanometer process, a first for the semiconductor industry.

The company claims this will enable the production of chips that have 45% better performance or 75% lower energy use.

The announcement comes at a time when many industries that use chips are struggling to obtain sufficient stock to keep production at needed levels.

The new technology will take considerable time to be available for commercial use.

Row of 2 nm nanosheet devices

A row of 2nm nanosheet devices. Courtesy IBM

At the moment, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung produce semiconductors made using a 5nm process and TSMC has said that it will be going down to 3nm in the second half of the year.

In a statement, IBM said 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;
  • Slashing the carbon footprint of data centres, which account for 1% 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; and
  • 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 Darío Gil, senior vice-president 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."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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