In recent years, the semiconductor industry has struggled to keep up with the pace of the legendary Moore’s Law. With the current 14-nanometer generation of chips, researchers have begun to question if it will remain possible to double transistor density every two and a half years. However, IBM is now pushing away the doubt with the development of their new chip.
The new ultra-dense chip hosts seven-nanometer transistors, which yields about four times the capacity of our current computer chip. Like many other researchers in the field, IBM decided to move away for the traditional and expensive pure silicon toward a silicon-germanium hybrid material to produce the new chip.
The success of the high-capacity chip relies on the utilization of this new material. The use of silicon-germanium has made it possible for faster transistor switching and lower power requirements. And did we mention how impossibly small these transistors are?
This from The New York Times:
As points of comparison to the size of the seven-nanometer transistors, a strand of DNA is about 2.5 nanometers in diameter and a red blood cell is roughly 7,500 nanometers in diameter. IBM said that would make it possible to build microprocessors with more than 20 billion transistors.
“I’m not surprised, because this is exactly what the road map predicted, but this is fantastic,” said Subhashish Mitra, director of the Robust Systems Group in the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford University.
PS: Gordon Moore, has been a member of ECS since 1957, where he has been a member of the Electronics & Photonics Division and gave two Society plenary talks (one in 1981 and one in 1997).
Check out the award we established in his honor and see more about this year’s winner of the award, Yue Kuo, who’s work in solid state science and technology has made a tremendous impact on the scientific community.