Samsung has shrunk the size of its transistors.
The size of the transistors has come down to 5nm. This means that 2,000 such transistors can fit across the width of the human hair. As the size of the transistors shrinks, the performance of the chip decreases by 10 percent while energy consumption will decrease by 20 percent.
Samsung is planning on using the 5nm process and will start mass production from the second quarter of 2020, says Vice President Shawn Han from Samsung’s foundry business. The transistor measurement has come down from 7nm to 5nm.
Samsung and rival TSMC are using Extra Violet technology (EUV) for this purpose. Through this technology, the UV light is etched as patterns on the wafers as they use short beams.
As per Moore’s Law, the number of transistors that are found inside the integrated circuit is doubling each year. Earlier the size of the transistors was 7 billionths of a meter and before that, it was 10nm.
Further, Samsung and IBM are working on a new technology called nanosheets to work on the 5nm chips. This will further increase performance by 50 percent and decrease power consumption by 75 percent.
Technical challenges constantly hamper the progress of the companies in this industry. Companies have to constantly spend much on research and equipment to keep up with competition and technology. Currently, the major manufacturers in this sector are Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor and Intel.
Chips using 7nm technology are used by Samsung and TSMC in the manufacturing process of phones like iPhone XS from Apple and Galaxy S10 from Samsung.
But TSMC is already using 5nm chips for its customers. With the transistors getting smaller, the chips will enjoy more speed boost and will save on power. Other companies like Qualcomm can also benefit from this process, as they depend on the foundry business from Samsung for their chips.