IBM has confirmed that the release of their new silicon chips with the smallest components ever made will be available soon despite the recent threat of delay due to technical issues. The company has now claimed that is can now make chips that are the size of a red blood cell or 7 nanometres wide. The smallest chips available are currently 14 nanometres. A nanometre is equivalent to a billionth of a meter. The company IBM are currently exploring methods to reproduce them in manufacturing plants. The new chips have currently been produced in the lab.
This technological breakthrough will mean that under Moore’s Law, computer power will continue to grow. Moore’s law states that computer power should develop every couple of years which is down to innovations in shrinking the size of components.
This law has been named after one of the key pioneers of Silicon chip development, Gordon Moore. Current developments have seen the updating of fabrication systems that will make computers more powerful. This is because processors can now be made with parts that are just 10nm wide. There were early reservations that the change is size from 10nm to 7nm may cause technical problems.
A recent interview with the New York Times saw IBM confirm that problems had been overcome through utilising channels made of Silicon and Germanium on the main parts of processors which has ensured that the smallest elements of the chips function well.
IBM have also found away to use extremely narrow wavelengths of Ultraviolet light that has made it possible to etch components and stack transistors much closer together. This ensures that both components do not interfere with each other
IBM and its associated partners who include technology manufacture Samsung are planning to spend in excess of $3bn which will include a state of the art manufacturing plant that will enable the company to produce chips that will use the tiny components.
On the IBM blog, a spokesman had confirmed that “dozens of design and tooling improvements” to the manufacturing processes to make the chips.
Companies such as AMD, Broadcom and Qualcomm are already signed up.
IBM confirmed that computers should be using the tiny 7nm components by 2017