IBM shows off 14nm wafers and flexible 28nm ones

Common Platform 2013: Flexy FD-SOI, FinFETs, fun fun fun

IBM LogoAt the Common Platform conference today, IBM showed off a bunch of goodies including two new types of wafers. Of the two, the 14nm wafer was expected, the flexible wafer was not.

IBM 14nm test wafer

14nm wafers are here

The 14nm wafer is just that, 14nm FinFETs with 20nm everything else, so it is a true 14nm-ish process. These are just test chips but as you can see, it is real. If you squint, you can see that each transistor has very little variability too, but unlike 20nm, it is a little more subtle to the untrained eye. Yes, that is a joke, you need a magnifying glass. Yeah, that was another joke.

IBM flexible 28nm FD-SOI wafer

Bendy wafers for bendy devices

The next one up was a little more unexpected, a completely flexible wafer. It is a 6″ test device, but the transistors are very resistant to physical strain and show little performance variance when bent quite a bit. These devices are built on a 28nm FD-SOI wafer with an embedded fracture plane. Once the device is made, you fracture it, and the silicon left is both thick enough to keep the transistors in place, but thin enough to be rolled in to the diameter of a dime. And yes, it still works. Neat.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate