Scientists at IBM have achieved a major breakthrough in the world of computer chips, creating the first 5nm chip ever. This is a huge downsize from the 10nm chips currently used in most major technology, and a big step forward from the 7nm chips that were achieved by IBM just last year.
This technology could hopefully lead to major advances in the world of computer chips, and, of course, the technology that relies on them. As our devices grow increasingly complex, we need chips that can keep them working quickly and effectively. Even 10nm chips struggle to keep up with the advances in technology, and as we invest more and more in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, there is a serious possibility that they simply won’t cut it.
These new chips are the product of stacked nanosheet transistors. This allows the chip’s design to be adjusted as needed to improve performance and increase its power. To achieve this IBM scientists relied on the Extreme Ultraviolet lithography technique. This technology let them continuously adjust the width of the nanosheets being used within the Scientists believe that these new 5nm chips will have performance capabilities 40% better than the computer chips currently in circulation.
“This adjustability permits the fine-tuning of performance and power for specific circuits, something not possible with today’s FinFET transistor architecture production, which is limited by its current-carrying fin height.”
Just as significantly, these chips will help hold off the end of Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors that could be placed on a computer chip would double every two years. This has generally proven to be true; but some engineers expressed concerns that the law would abruptly end due to the physical limitations of such exponential growth in the real world. The size and effectiveness of these new 5nm chips staves off the death of Moore’s law, if only for the time being.
Many companies are looking to these revolutionary new chips to give their technology the boost it needs to stay on top in an increasingly fast-paced and competitive market. IBM believes that these chips will eventually phase out the current 10nm model, leaving our devices with newer and faster technology.
But don’t ditch your 10nm chip just yet; IBM may have achieved a revolutionary breakthrough, but the chips aren’t quite ready for mass production. Samsung, IBM, and TSMC are preparing to use the 5nm chips in their devices, and will be available in the near future. So enjoy your 10nm chips while you still can; soon, they may be nothing more than just a fond and fading technological memory.