- IEDM 2020
Advanced logic technology at 2nm node
We unveiled a significant milestone in May 2021: the world's first 2 nanometer transistor-based (nm) node chip. The 2 nm transistor is the latest benchmark in IBM's legacy of contributions to silicon and semiconductor innovation --ranging from DRAM, the world's first one-transistor memory, and world’s first 7 nm and 5 nm transistors. Our breakthrough 2nm device can fit 50 billion transistors onto a chip the size of a fingernail. A smaller nm node means that more transistors will be able to fit onto a chip. More transistors mean that more signals can pass through the chip, which enables greater power and performance, or greater energy efficiency.
Our 2nm node technology is based on our 2nd generation NanoSheet technology. It also incorporates several key IBM research innovations, including a new type of “Gate All-Around” chip architecture, in which “gates” on a transistor enable superior electrical signals to pass through and between other transistors on the chip. We also developed for the first time nanosheet devices using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography patterning—which produces lines smaller than visible light—at the front-end-of-line (FEOL). We are among the first to talk about introducing EUV into the FEOL.
These significant advancements in semiconductor technology are expected to unlock greater performance and energy efficiency over the next decade. Chips with 2 nm technology will vastly increase the functionality of electronic devices – from faster access to the Internet, to longer battery life, to faster processing time in applications – without increasing cost. By Increasing the number of transistors on a chip, we can make them smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient. Chips built using 2 nm process technology are projected to demonstrate 45% better performance, or use 75% less energy, than today’s 7 nm chips.
While we are still three generations from the commercialization of these chips, from the 2 nm breakthrough we believe the chip world will become more "mix and match." In the future we'll be able to modify, replace and optimize chips, which will help with upgrading to new design cycles. In addition, advanced semiconductors can enable future heterogenous processors that incorporate multiple technologies, like CPUs, GPUs, or advanced AI hardware, into a single package that have the potential to transform how servers are composed, allowing for modular purpose-built systems that can fulfill a variety of objectives.