IBM long ago sold their foundries but recent work in their labs has earned some money. IBM still maintains a research lab in New York not far from Globalfoundries’ facilities.

The x-ray shows the new stacking of transistors to make the CMOS switches smaller in size. This can improved areal density substantially as now CMOS can be vertical instead of the traditional horizontal. This breakthrough is probably the greatest development in decades.

IBM’s legacy of semiconductor breakthroughs also includes the first implementation of 7 nm and 5 nm process technologies, single cell DRAM, the Dennard Scaling Laws, chemically amplified photoresists, copper interconnect wiring, Silicon on Insulator technology, multi core microprocessors, High-k gate dielectrics, embedded DRAM, and 3D chip stacking. IBM’s first commercialized offering including IBM Research 7 nm advancements will debut later this year in IBM POWER10-based IBM Power Systems.

IBM 2nm x-ray detail of stacked CMOS transistors

IBM still sell mainframe class processors so they have to get them made somewhere. This is called a nanosheet stacked transistor, and it stacks an NMOS transistor on top of a PMOS transistor instead of having them sit side by side to take voltage signals and flip bits from one to zero or zero to one. These are also sometimes called gate all around, or GAA, transistors, and they are the next evolution in 3D transistors from FinFET technologies used for the past several generations of transistors from TSMC, Intel, GlobalFoundries, and others. IBM’s work will find its way into a wide range of devices in the future. The work with semiconductors has been going on for several years.

IBM 2nm wafer

IBM is evidently content licensing the technology to Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Samsung, Micron etc who all can integrate it into their designs.