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In a bid to offer the most advanced fabrication process technology among contract semiconductor manufacturers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has decided to skip development of 22nm manufacturing process and move straight to 20nm process technology already in the second half of 2012 with risk production, which results into volume manufacturing in 2013.

The technology will be based on a planar process with enhanced high-K metal gate (HKMG), novel strained silicon, and low-resistance copper ultra-low-K interconnects. The technical rationale behind the move is based on the capability of innovative patterning technology and layout design methodologies required at these advanced technology nodes. 

During his address to nearly 1.5 thousand TSMC customers and third party alliances, Dr. Shang-yi Chiang, TSMC senior vice president of research and development, said that the move to 20nm creates a superior gate density and chip performance to cost ratio than a 22nm process technology and makes it a more viable platform for advanced technology designers. He also announced that TSMC is expected to enter 20nm risk production in the second half of 2012. Dr. Chiang also indicated that the company has demonstrated record-setting feasibility of other transistor structures such as FinFET and high-mobility devices.

"We have reached a point in advanced technology development where we need to be actively concerned about the ROI of advanced technology.  We also need to broaden our thinking beyond the process technology barriers that are inherent in every new node. Collaborative and co-optimized innovation is required to overcome the technological and economic challenges,” said Dr. Chiang.

TSMC recently decided to cancel development of 32nm manufacturing process and develop 28nm HKMG fabrication technology instead. Even though the move is projected to improve the company’s competitive position in 2011, the decision comes after the company failed to deliver sufficient production yields with 40nm process technology, which was designed after TSMC decided to skip 45nm production tech.

Tags: TSMC, 22nm, 20nm, 32nm, 28nm, Semiconductor

Discussion

Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 04/13/10 01:27:16 PM
Latest comment: 04/15/10 11:31:59 AM
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1. 
They are a total mess today, so they are talking about the future. It is much easier.
0 0 [Posted by: john_gre  | Date: 04/13/10 01:27:16 PM]
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2. 
What's interesting is that by the time this is a reality, with production in H1 2013, IBM's group will be at 18nm, the half node of 22nm, where 'Moore's Law will' supposedly 'die' according to many. TSMC WILL NOT OFFER A 18NM (or any half) NODE.
They will likely jump to some weird half-node of 16nm, like 14nm, just like they did with 40nm and now 20nm. It will likely not be quick, as lots of things need to change below 18nm. They WILL, at some point, be stuck on 20nm when GF is at 18nm by going this route. Return on investment, yes, because of splitting the difference and using one node, but at the cost of process leadership.


While I always applaud the cutthroat attitude TSMC has taken on nodes, I sure as hell hope they plan it out better than they did with 40/32nm instead of 45nm. So far, there looks to be little reason it shouldn't work, as sub-18nm is where things get trickier and need a massive overhaul, ie like HKMG for 40/32nm that they didn't use.

In short: 20nm lets look good against the competition on 22nm in the same time frame. The competition won't be on 22nm as long as TSMC is on 20nm. Whom gets the next process out after that (16/15/14nm) and how/when they do it is the thing to watch.
TSMC coming out with a smaller node first, and then focusing on that task does not guarantee they will accomplish it faster or better.
0 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 04/13/10 04:59:24 PM]
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It is logical to assume that transition from 28nm to 22nm process technology will make less economic sense than transition from 40nm to 28nm. However, jumping directly from 28nm to 20nm essentially kills 16nm fabrication process.

Basically, TSMC aims at very aggressive size of elements and essentially leaves itself without ability to test certain new materials in less extreme conditions (which may result in low yields, etc).

So, we can make rather simple conclusion: half-node process technologies are going to disappear already in the mid-term future, as both Globalfoundries and TSMC are aiming at the smallest transistor sizes and it seems that there is no substantial economical effect to further shrink existing technologies. In fact, 40nm is already a full-node process since 45nm essentially does not exist.

There is a big question how do they plan to diversify process technologies in terms of high-performance, low-power, etc.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 04/15/10 07:26:30 AM]
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3. 
so they are skipping 32nm AND 22nm now? While intel's 32nm process is a whole year ahead of a schedule.

Things look bad for TSMC and the Foundry Company
0 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 04/15/10 11:31:59 AM]
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