IBM will also help Japanese chip manufacturer Rapidus make 2nm chips

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IBM and Japanese chipmaker Rapidus will collaborate on advanced semiconductor technology. IBM’s research will be used by Rapidus to produce 2nm chips later this decade. Rapidus previously announced a partnership with imec.

The agreement between Rapidus and IBM was established as part of Japan’s initiative to strengthen its chip sector, writes IBM in a press release. The two companies will collaborate in making advanced chips. Rapidus will further develop IBM’s 2nm chip technology, eventually using it for mass production. As part of the agreement, Rapidus will collaborate with IBM Japan and IBM researchers at the Albany NanoTech Complex in New York State.

IBM presented its research into 2nm chips last year. The company bases that technology on gate-all-around transistors. IBM builds these from thin, stacked silicon channels, which are also called nanosheets. Rapidus will use this technology as the basis for its own 2nm process. The Japanese company wants to start production in the second half of this decade. A specific start time has not yet been announced. It is also unclear where the Rapidus factories will be located in Japan.

Rapidus was founded earlier this year. It is a new chip manufacturer set up by several Japanese companies, including Sony, SoftBank, Toyota and Kioxia. Partly due to the establishment of Rapidus, Japan wants to become less dependent on other countries for chips. The government of Japan is initially investing 483 million euros in Rapidus; the rest of the funding required comes from the business community.

The company will focus on producing advanced logic chips, for which it collaborates with research institutes such as IBM. The new chipmaker previously announced a collaboration with Leuven research center imec. That institute will also help Rapidus develop 2nm chips.

IBM’s 2nm chip technology based on nanosheet transistors. Source: IBM

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