IBM and Samsung are working on a new way to stack semiconductor transistors that may result in phones with week-long battery life.
As phones have become more complex battery life has often been the casualty. Running 4G, 5G, Bluetooth, WiFi, and a slew of background applications takes its toll. Add in talk time and many phones die within a few hours of being charged, or last roughly a day or two on the upper end of the spectrum.
IBM and Samsung are working on Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors (VTFET) designs that would stack transistors vertically instead of horizontally. As a result, the new design could use as much as 85% less energy than traditional semiconductors, where the transistors are placed horizontally. IBM and Samsung believe that phones using this semiconductor design would be able to go a week or longer between charges.
“Today’s technology announcement is about challenging convention and rethinking how we continue to advance society and deliver new innovations that improve life, business and reduce our environmental impact,” Dr. Mukesh Khare, Vice President, Hybrid Cloud and Systems, IBM Research. “Given the constraints the industry is currently facing along multiple fronts, IBM and Samsung are demonstrating our commitment to joint innovation in semiconductor design and a shared pursuit of what we call ‘hard tech.'”
In addition to improved battery life, the new design would allow the semiconductors to do intensive tasks — such as encryption or cryptomining — while using a fraction of the energy as traditional chips.