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Samsung and IBM recently announced a new vertical transistor architecture for semiconductor design. This new design has the potential to deliver a two times improvement in performance or to reduce energy usage by 85 percent compared to the current scaled fin field-effect transistor (finFET) used by leading semiconductor manufacturing companies. This new chip design will enable week-long battery life on smartphones.
Until now, transistors have been built to lie flat upon the surface of a semiconductor. With new Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors, or VTFET, transistors are built perpendicular to the surface of the chip with a vertical, or up-and-down, current flow.
The VTFET process addresses many barriers to performance and limitations to extend Moore’s Law as chip designers attempt to pack more transistors into a fixed space. It also influences the contact points for the transistors, allowing for greater current flow with less wasted energy.
“Today’s technology announcement is about challenging convention and rethinking how we continue to advance society and deliver new innovations that improve life, business and reduce our environmental impact,” Dr. Mukesh Khare, Vice President, Hybrid Cloud and Systems, IBM Research. “Given the constraints the industry is currently facing along multiple fronts, IBM and Samsung are demonstrating our commitment to joint innovation in semiconductor design and a shared pursuit of what we call ‘hard tech.'”