IBM and Samsung have announced that they’ve achieved a breakthrough in semiconductor chip design. During the IEDM conference in San Francisco, USA, the two tech behemoths claimed to have developed a new technique to stack transistors vertically, offering higher performance or improved power efficiency.
Current semiconductor chips lie flat on the silicon surface, with the current flowing side-by-side. With IBM and Samsung’s new design, transistors sit perpendicular to the chip surface, and the current flows vertically. This allows the companies to bypass Moore’s Law performance limitations or help save energy due to lower power consumption.
This new technology is called VTFET (Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors). The companies expect the new chip design technology to offer 2x the performance or 85% improved power efficiency compared to FinFET designs. Certain energy-intensive tasks like crypto-mining could get extremely power-efficient, leading to less environmental impact.
IBM and Samsung haven’t announced when we could see VTFET in commercial products. However, other competing firms, including Intel, have been working on angstrom-scale chips. Intel is planning to bring such chips to the market under the ‘Intel 20A’ branding by the end of 2024.