New 7 nm chip from IBM


20EPBS_SCI-IBMchip   | Photo Credit: GRJGM

IBM recently announced that they had produced the first 7-nanometre semiconductor test chip with functioning transistors. The level of miniaturisation is huge. This can result in the ability to place more than 20 billion tiny switches on a fingernail-sized chip that could power everything from smartphones to spacecraft.

“To achieve this breakthrough, IBM researchers had to bypass conventional semiconductor manufacturing approaches in favour of a number of industry-first innovations,” said Mukesh Khare, VP of semiconductor research at IBM Research, in an email to this correspondent. “The two key ones were the use of silicon germanium channel transistors instead of traditional silicon, and using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography integration at multiple levels, instead of optical lithography,” he said about the innovation.

The development of this chip was the result of a public-private partnership between New York State and a joint development alliance with Global Foundries, Samsung and equipment suppliers along with IBM. “The 7nm test chip was developed by IBM Research and these two alliance partners at the State of New York Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, based in Albany, New York. The breakthrough is a direct result of IBM's $3 billion, five-year investment in chip R&D that we announced in 2014,” said Mr Khare.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 12:11:08 AM |

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