TSMC Skips 22nm Process Technology, to Leapfrog to 20nm Instead

TSMC to Start 20nm Risk Production in 2012

by Anton Shilov
04/13/2010 | 12:59 PM

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.