Transistors: Moore’s Law and Emerging Trends in Semiconductor Industry


The November 16th, 1904 invention of the vacuum tube was the humble beginning of the modern-day transistor. Since then, the race towards more efficient and less power-hungry transistors has pushed innovation to the edge of a technologically tomorrow. IBM has, therefore, taken the opportunity to research a new 5 nanometer transistors. The applications of this transistor will be revolutionary by offering fast performance while being highly power efficient. Devices like phones, laptops, wearable gear, and even medical equipment will significantly improve based on the development of this new transistor. Research into improving the transistor is an excellent step towards achieving improved power efficiency and battery life.

Moore’s law on emerging trends in the semiconductor industry has been the Achilles heel of chip manufacturing. However, over the past few years we have seen a likely impending end to this exponential function as the transistors have become smaller. Therefore, the power needed to cool the chips is reduced in direct proportion with the development of even smaller chips (Theis & Wong, 2017). When a transistor can conduct electrical signals faster, the microchip can process them faster and thereby increasing efficiency.  The 5-nanometer transistors hold tremendous promise and are bound to be even better over the next few years as development continues.

 Early preliminary results show a marked improvement of about fifteen percent in efficiency and about thirty percent in power efficiency. The marked improvement will boost the growth and development of artificial intelligence through improved cognitive computing. The data-intensive processes will significantly benefit from the faster and highly efficient chips based on these transistors. The recent breakthrough based on the stacking of nano-sheets in place of the typical FinFet architecture in the fashioning of the transistor has been hailed as a great start (Loubet et al., 2017). The horizontal stacking of gate-all-around (GAA) Nanosheet structure can provide the basis of further development as the architecture has delivered the logic device needs. Its adaptable design has also proved to be more straightforward with greater electrostatics and dynamic processing performance.

By being among the leaders in the development of better transistors, the company can reap great benefits not only from sales but also by leading the world into a new greener world. With higher power efficiency, the energy needed to run devices and applications will reduce markedly (Asenov et al., 2016). Electronic waste will be less as batteries will last longer and even require less raw materials to manufacture. Industries that require great processing power will save on their energy costs and thereby lower their overhead costs.

The development of 5-nanometer transistors and beyond is the future of computing. The impact of the architecture on devices and applications will be huge and span across all industries. The primary benefits of increased performance and power efficiency will lead to the transistor’s adoption into various fields that we could never have thought about before. The innovation will push the limitations of the current transistors and help eke out the much-needed additional performance. Therefore, IBM needs to lead the efforts in the research and development of the improved transistor.


Asenov, A., Wang, Y., Cheng, B., Wang, X., Asenov, P., Al-Ameri, T., & Georgiev, V. P. (2016). Nanowire transistor solutions for 5nm and beyond. 2016 17th International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED), 269–274.

Loubet, N., Hook, T., Montanini, P., Yeung, C.-W., Kanakasabapathy, S., Guillom, M., Yamashita, T., Zhang, J., Miao, X., Wang, J., Young, A., Chao, R., Kang, M., Liu, Z., Fan, S., Hamieh, B., Sieg, S., Mignot, Y., Xu, W., … Khare, M. (2017). Stacked nanosheet gate-all-around transistor to enable scaling beyond FinFET. 2017 Symposium on VLSI Technology, T230–T231.

Theis, T. N., & Wong, H.-S. P. (2017). The end of moore’s law: A new beginning for information technology. Computing in Science & Engineering, 19(2), 41–50.

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