IBM unveils 2-nanometer chip technology

IBM says that silicon has at least one more generational advance in store. The company introduced what it says is the world’s first 2-nanometer chipmaking technology.

TSMC Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

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.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s ‎A14 Bionic, found in iPhone 12 family, and M1 in new Macs and iPad Pro models are 5-nanometer systems on a chip (SoC).

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 Electronics Co Ltd 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 technology IBM showed Thursday is the most basic building block of a chip: a transistor, which acts like an electrical on-off switch to form the 1s and 0s of binary digits at that foundation of all modern computing.

Making the switches very tiny makes them faster and more power efficient, but it also creates problems with electrons leaking when the switches are supposed to be off. Darío Gil, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, told Reuters in an interview that scientists were able to drape sheets of insulating material just a few nanometers thick to stop leaks.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s Power Mac G5, launched in June 2003, featured a PowerPC G5 (970) processor that was manufactured on a 130-nanometer process.


    1. The Motorola 68000 had a 3500-nm process. (That’s 3.5 micrometers. We didn’t even talk about nanometers then.) Pretty soon they’ll be measuring in picometers.

      1. The absolute physical limit is .5nm. That is 1 atom wide. You can’t go less than 1 atom. Realistically, I would be surprised to get below 1.5nm as that is 3 atoms wide.

  1. According to Wikipedia, early developers of chips also worried about interference leaks. I prefer to call leaks “whistleblowers,” this, to honor Snowden, Manning, Drake, Kiriakou, Agee, Ellsberg, Assange, Sterling, Swartz, but especially Hammond who said that “information wants to be free,” so he released to the public documents that were selfishly classified. Electrons want to be free just like hard core Libertarians waving that “Don’t tread on me” flag, who rebel against rigid, lock step confines such as hard circuitry.

  2. So what happens after the “Last generation” when chips can’t get any smaller? I don’t want
    some buggy quantum computer giving me e-mail from alternate realities where I’m successful.

  3. After the “last Generation, when chips can’t get any smaller,” we will be on the event horizon of eternal life. Chips will be about as useful as land lines and Steve Ballmer porking around reciting “Developers, Developers…” will be a mere vestige of times past.

    Say goodbye to electron leaks as well and static in your Depends.

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