IBM and Samsung Electronics have jointly announced a breakthrough in semiconductor technology based on a new vertical transistor architecture that paves the way for scalability beyond the nanoscale and has the potential to significantly reduce power consumption when compared to FinFETs.
Moore’s Law, according to which the number of transistors in microcircuits approximately doubles every two years, is rapidly approaching what is considered an insurmountable obstacle.
Historically, transistors were designed to “lie” on the surface of a semiconductor crystal, with an electric current flowing through in a horizontal direction. The new transistors, called Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors or VTFETs, are formed perpendicular to the surface of the crystal, and current flows in them up or down.
The VTFET process removes many of the barriers to further enhancing integration performance. It also touches the contacts of the transistors, allowing more current to be obtained with less energy loss. Overall, the new design aims to deliver up to 2x performance improvement or 85% energy savings over FinFETs.
The breakthrough press release noted that the global semiconductor shortage “highlighted the critical role of investment in IC R&D and the importance of IC in everything from computing to consumer electronics, communications devices, transportation systems and critical infrastructures.” …
The development was carried out by specialists at the Albany Nanotech Complex, which is called “the world’s leading ecosystem for semiconductor research, generating a powerful stream of innovation, helping to meet the needs of manufacturing and accelerate the growth of the global chip industry.”