IBM unveils the world’s first 2nm chip
Chips are cut out of wafers like the 11.8-inch wafer used for 5nm chips
To help cram billions of transistors inside a chip, IBM uses Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV), which produces lines smaller than visible light. These lines create the patterns that will be used to create circuits. IBM also replaced the FinFET architecture with GAA and as IBM puts it, “Four “gates” on a transistor enable superior electrical signals to pass through and between other transistors on a chip.”
The fact that IBM has made the world’s first 2nm chip is a big boost to the U.S. chip industry. Last year, the world’s top foundry, TSMC, announced that it was building a $12 billion fab in Arizona and a new report says that the U.S. has requested that five additional fabs be built for a total of six. The U.S. is trying to take chip production out of Asia so that global manufacturers don’t have to be concerned about the relationship between China and other countries.
There is concern that China, if it gets desperate enough for chips, will attack Taiwan in a bid to take control of TSMC which counts Apple as its biggest customer. IBM is headquartered in the U.S. and the 300mm wafer (11.81-inches) used for the 2nm chips was produced at IBM Research’s semiconductor research facility in Albany, NY. The company stated that “our demonstration of a nanosheet transistor for the 2 nm chip node is also a validation of several smaller milestones that proved to us this could be done, and of the hard work and dedication of IBM’s interdisciplinary team of experts in materials, lithography, integration, devices, characterization and modeling working on the project.”