The race is on
With the promise that SRAM chips are precursors to more complex devices like microprocessors, IBM has announced that, together with its partners, it has produced the first working SRAM for the 22nm technology node at its 300mm research facility in Albany.
IBM's research partners are the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Toshiba, Freescale, STMicroelectronics and AMD. While IBM stressed that 22nm is two generations away in terms of manufacturing, this does present the exciting prospect that the group - and that includes AMD, don't forget - could possibly beat Intel to that goal.
This news also poses a few other corporate questions. Firstly, how close have AMD and IBM become? Everyone knows AMD is pursuing an "Asset Smart" strategy that could well end up with it outsourcing most or all of its manufacturing to a third party. Is IBM an integral part of that plan.
Another question concerns STMicroelectronics. Intel formed flash memory company Numonyx in partnership with ST, but here it is apparently siding with the other guys on SRAM design. Will that put a strain on their relationship?
"We are working at the ultimate edge of what is possible - progressing toward advanced, next-generation semiconductor technologies," said Dr. T.C. Chen, VP of science and technology at IBM Research. "This new development is a critical achievement in the pursuit to continually drive miniaturization in microelectronics."
Press release: IBM Builds World's Smallest SRAM Memory Cell