IBM Corp. will work with the German chemical company BASF Group to produce a new generation of chips with feature sizes of 32 nanometers, the companies said Friday.
The partnership will produce chips scheduled to reach the market in 2010, IBM said. Chips with circuits and other features of 32nm use less electricity and have smaller dimensions than chips built with 45nm or 60nm, allowing vendors of smartphones, notebook PCs and other electronics to pack more processing power in their products.
The two companies hope to create an improved approach to using chemicals in lithography, a method of manufacturing chips by stacking layers of different materials like a cake, then etching away part of each layer to create the tiny components of a microprocessor. Work will begin immediately at IBM's facility in Yorktown Heights, New York, and at BASF's headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany, said Ronald Goldblatt, a distinguished engineer and senior manager at IBM Research.
BASF already supplies chemicals to many chip makers, but under the new partnership it will also share its employees and expertise with IBM. Each company will play to its strengths, with most of the synthesis and testing happening at BASF, while prototyping and application work at IBM, Goldblatt said. He declined to comment on whether the deal involved any exchange of money.
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