For decades, each generation of computer chips got faster and more power-efficient because their most basic building blocks, called transistors, got smaller.
On Thursday, The pace of those improvements has slowed, but International Business Machines said that silicon has at least one more generational advance in store.
IBM introduced what it says is the world’s first 2-nanometer chipmaking technology. The technology could be as much as 45% faster than the mainstream 7-nanometer chips in many of today’s laptops and phones and up to 75% more power-efficient, the company said.
The technology likely will take several years to come to market. Once a major manufacturer of chips, IBM now outsources its high-volume chip production to Samsung but maintains a chip manufacturing research center in Albany, New York that produces test runs of chips and has joint technology development deals with Samsung and Intel Corp to use IBM’s chipmaking technology.
The 2-nanometer chips will be smaller and faster than today’s leading-edge 5-nanonmeter chips, which are just now showing up in premium smartphones like Apple Inc’s iPhone 12 models, and the 3-nanometer chips expected to come after 5-nanometer.
On Thursday, The technology IBM showed is the most basic building block of a chip: a transistor, which acts as an electrical on-off switch to form the 1s and 0s of binary digits at that foundation of all modern computing.