- Reducing the size of the on-off switch in the transistor, known in the industry as gate length, boosts chip performance and speed, and lowers manufacturing cost and power consumption, IBM said.
The proof-of-concept transistor measures six nanometers — about 20,000 times smaller than the width of a single human hair, according to IBM.
That's at least 10 times smaller than transistors in use today, which range between 60 to 90 nanometers, said Meikei Ieong, a researcher on the IBM project. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
"Each generation of such scaled devices has historically reduced the cost of doing some function by about 25 percent per year," said Juri Matisoo, vice president of technology for the Semiconductor Industry Assocation trade group.
"So what it means, basically, is that things are going to get a lot cheaper and that you'll be able to do things that aren't possible today, from a point of view of performance, such as language translation," Matisoo said.