IBM and Samsung have announced the development of a new semiconductor design that will reportedly reduce the carbon footprint of energy-intensive processes like cryptocurrency mining and data encryption, as well as lengthen phone battery life by a considerable margin.
Essentially, the tech titans have discovered another way to stack transistors vertically on a chip as opposed to flat on a semiconductor’s surface. Appropriately dubbed Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors (VTFET), it’s on track to succeed the current FinFET design used in some of today’s most advanced chips.
“In essence, the new design would stack transistors vertically, allowing for current to flow up and down the stack of transistors instead of the side-to-side horizontal layout that’s currently used on most chips,” explains Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge.
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“While we’re still a ways away from VTFET designs being used in actual consumer chips, the two companies are making some big claims, noting that VTFET chips could offer a two times improvement in performance or an 85% reduction in energy use” compared to FinFET designs.”
By upping how densely transistors can be packed within chips, IBM and Samsung claim that VTFET could facilitate Moore’s law’s goal of steadily increasing transistor count moving forward, and – yes – earning just about everyone’s interest by mentioning “cell phone batteries could go over a week without being charged instead of days.”
“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,” says Dr Mukesh Khare, Vice President of Hybrid Cloud & Systems at 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.’”
Check out Samsung x IBM’s video explanation on VTFET applications in mobile device battery life, spacecraft + autonomous vehicles, and beyond now.