IBM Research shows 2000 pm transistor wafer

Smallest semiconductor ever made

Posted: By Jon Peddie 05.09.21
5.9 m transistors per 4k dot (image courtesy IBM). 


If you could measuring a pico-meter (pm), it would be 10-12 of a meter or 0.000,000,000,001 meters— The helix width of A-DNA is 2.3nm or 2,300 pm.

IBM has built a transistor that is so small that if you are reading this on a 24 inch 4K screen 5.9 million of those transistors would fit in the dot at the end of this sentence—with room left over.

5.9 m transistors per dot.

A scanning electron microscope image of individual transistors on IBM's new chip, each measuring 2 nanometers wide – narrower than a strand of human DNA (Source: IBM)


IBM projects its 2 nm transistors will provide a 45% improvement in performance over 7nm transistors while using 75% less power. 

In July 2015, IBM announced that they had built the first functional transistors with 7 nm technology, using a silicon-germanium process, and in 2017 the company built the first 5 nm transistor. 

Given that 7 nm transistors showed up in Apple’s A12 Bionic processor in 2018, and assuming a little slippage in getting the 2 nm chip into production, we might be casually talking about our new smartphone with 2 nm transistors in late 2024 or early 2025.