Showing posts with label TSMC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TSMC. Show all posts

Friday, December 29, 2023

TSMC Set to Revolutionize Chip Technology with Trillion-Transistor Packages by 2030

In a groundbreaking announcement at IEDM, TSMC has unveiled ambitious plans to develop chip packages harboring over one trillion transistors and monolithic chips with more than 200 billion transistors by 2030. This visionary goal is set to be achieved through the development of advanced production nodes, including 2nm-class N2 and N2P, and even finer 1.4nm-class A14 and 1nm-class A10 processes. Despite the slowdown in process technology development and existing technical and financial challenges, TSMC remains optimistic about accomplishing these targets within the next five to six years. The company, renowned as the world's largest semiconductor foundry, is confident in overcoming industry hurdles to bring these complex, multi-chiplet systems and more intricate monolithic chips to the forefront of technology. This development signals a significant leap in chip architecture, promising transformative advancements in the tech industry.



Source:

Monday, October 23, 2023

TSMC To Report Breakthrough in NMOS Nanosheets Using Ultra-Thin MoS2 Channels at IEDM 2023

A TSMC-led research team, in collaboration with National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University and National Applied Research Laboratories, has unveiled promising results for using ultra-thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), specifically MoS2, as the channel material in NMOS nanosheets. Their innovative approach deviates from the conventional method of thinning Si channels. The team's devices exhibited impressive performance metrics: a positive threshold voltage (VTH) of ~1.0 V, a high on-current of ~370 µA/µm at VDS = 1 V, a large on/off ratio of 1E8, and a low contact resistance ranging between 0.37-0.58 kΩ-µm. These outcomes were primarily attributed to the introduction of a novel C-shaped wrap-around contact, which enhances contact area, and an optimized gate stack. While the devices demonstrated satisfactory mechanical stability, a challenge remains in addressing defect creation within the MoS2 channels. This groundbreaking study, titled "Monolayer-MoS2 Stacked Nanosheet Channel with C-type Metal Contact" by Y-Y Chung et al., is a pivotal step forward in nanosheet scaling using TMDs.


ALD is a the technique for the precise and uniform synthesis of MoS₂, especially for semiconductor applications on large-scale wafers. The choice of precursors plays a crucial role in achieving optimal deposition characteristics. Mo (CO) 6 and H2S have been identified as the primary precursors for depositing molybdenum and sulfur components, respectively. These precursors have demonstrated the capacity for self-limiting growth behavior within a specific ALD temperature window, leading to uniform MoS₂ layers. Notably, this process has been successfully scaled up to achieve highly uniform film growth on large 300 mm SiO2/Si wafers, marking its potential for industry-level manufacturing. The ability to maintain uniformity and thickness control on such wafers emphasizes the potential of ALD in integrating MoS₂ into next-generation electronic devices and further underscores the significance of selecting appropriate precursors for optimal deposition outcomes. Other precursors have been investigated. MoCl₅ and MoF₆ serve as alternative molybdenum sources. For the sulfur component, H₂S is commonly paired with molybdenum precursors, but (CH₃)₂S has also been explored. The choice of these precursors directly impacts the properties of the resulting MoS₂ film in the ALD process and therefore precursor development for 2D MoS2 is a hot field of ongoing research.

While deposition methods are abundant, etching processes are comparatively scarce. Recent research by Elton Graugnard et al also introduces a thermal Atomic Layer Etching (ALE) technique for MoS2, leveraging MoF6 for fluorination, alternated with H2O exposures, to etch both crystalline and amorphous MoS2 films. This process has been characterized using various analytical techniques like QCM, FTIR, and QMS. The etching is temperature-dependent, with a significant increase in mass change per cycle as temperature rises. The mechanism involves two-stage oxidation of Mo, producing volatile byproducts. The resultant etch rates were established for different films, and post-etch annealing rendered crystalline MoS2 films. The thermal MoS2 ALE introduces a promising low-temperature method for embedding MoS2 films in large-scale device manufacturing.



Friday, October 20, 2023

The Semiconductor Showdown: TSMC's GAA FETs vs. Intel's RibbonFET

The semiconductor industry is witnessing a fierce competition between TSMC and Intel, as they advance transistor designs with TSMC's Gate-All-Around (GAA) FETs and Intel's RibbonFET. Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) plays an instrumental role in crafting these intricate designs. As the race to dominate the microelectronics realm heats up, the innovations from these giants foretell a transformative phase for technology between 2024 and 2026. This article dives into their respective technologies, comparing their strategies and highlighting the future implications for the semiconductor industry.

Both TSMC and Intel are pushing the boundaries of semiconductor innovation with advanced transistor designs. TSMC's GAA (Gate-All-Around) FET (Field-Effect Transistor) technology and Intel's RibbonFET are prime examples of this evolution. ALD is crucial for GAA FET production, ensuring precision and atomically thin, conformal or on purpose non-conformal or selectively deposited films. As transistors miniaturized, ALD replaced traditional silicon dioxide gate dielectrics with high-k materials, reducing gate leakage and offering enhanced uniformity. One of the challenges in GAA FETs is accurately aligning the gate material around the channel; ALD facilitates this through self-aligned processes. Additionally, in configurations with multiple gates or nanosheets, ALD accurately deposits spacer materials, preserving the necessary separation between nanosheets. ALD also offers precise doping for GAA FETs, including NMOS and PMOS. With atomic-level control, ALD introduces dopants like phosphorus for NMOS and boron for PMOS. Given the shrinking device dimensions, ALD's precision becomes vital, especially when considering techniques like solid-state doping to achieve ultra-shallow profiles.



TSMC's Gate-All-Around (GAA) FET technology represents a significant shift from the traditional FinFET transistor design. In a GAA FET, the gate material wraps entirely around the channel, unlike the FinFET where the gate is only on three sides of a vertical fin. This complete encirclement provides enhanced control over the current flow through the channel, reducing leakage current and allowing for lower voltage operation. The result is improved energy efficiency and performance.


TSMC's roadmap to N2. (Image: TSMC)

On the other hand, Intel's RibbonFET introduces a similar gate-all-around design but with a unique twist. Instead of a traditional vertical fin, RibbonFET uses nanosheet technology, where multiple flat nano-sheets are stacked to form the channel. This design offers even better control of the current flow, leading to significant gains in performance and efficiency. RibbonFET is one of Intel's flagship innovations for its advanced nodes, emphasizing the company's commitment to reclaiming technology leadership in the semiconductor space.


Intel 20A Ribbon FET (intel.com)

In a recent article Tom´s Hardware (Anton Shilow, link below) compares the advanced semiconductor technology nodes from industry TSMC and Intel, focusing on TSMC's N3P and N2 nodes against Intel's 20A and 18A nodes. Forecasted for release between 2024 and 2026, these nodes represent the forefront of semiconductor innovation. TSMC's N3P, a 3nm-class node, is set to be available by 2025 and offers performance comparable to Intel's 18A. Interestingly, TSMC's 2nm-class N2, expected in the second half of 2025, is anticipated to outpace Intel's 18A in terms of power, performance, and area advantages. Intel's 20A, arriving in 2024, promises significant advancements by introducing RibbonFET gate-all-around transistors and a backside power delivery network. The subsequent 18A will further refine these innovations. While TSMC leans on its proven FinFET technology for the N3P, it plans to introduce nanosheet GAA transistors in the N2. 

As the semiconductor race intensifies, both companies are heavily invested in outpacing each other, with TSMC focusing on technology maturity and cost-effectiveness, and Intel aiming to regain its technology leadership. The dynamics between these tech giants will shape the semiconductor industry's future.


Comparison of Advanced Semiconductor Technology Nodes: TSMC N3P & N2 vs. Intel 20A & 18A, highlighting the competitive landscape of the semiconductor industry for the years 2024-2026 based on Toms Hardware article below.

Sources: 

TSMC: Our 3nm Node Comparable to Intel's 1.8nm Tech | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)

Intel and TSMC company web pages

Thursday, October 19, 2023

TSMC Foresees Stabilization in PC and Smartphone Demand; Remains Optimistic Amid Semiconductor Challenges

TSMC believes that the demand for personal computers and smartphones is beginning to stabilize after an extended downturn. During an earnings call, TSMC's CEO, C.C. Wei, stated that while there are early signs of stabilization in these markets, it's premature to predict a rapid recovery. There's been a notable decrease in global smartphone shipments, dropping from 1.4 billion units to 1.1 billion. However, there's been consistent demand in areas like artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, which are projected to stay strong through 2024-2025. Wei foresees potential for growth in 2024. 


He also commented on US export controls and their potential long-term effects. This comes after the US tightened regulations on AI chip exports to China, impacting major TSMC clients like Nvidia. Despite a 24.8% fall in TSMC's net profit for Q3, the company remains optimistic about its prospects, especially as it collaborates with Intel on chip production.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Intel to Sell 10% Stake in IMS Nanofabrication to TSMC for $4.3 Billion

Intel will sell a 10% stake in IMS Nanofabrication to TSMC, valuing IMS at $4.3 billion, maintaining Intel's majority ownership. IMS leads in multi-beam mask writing tools for advanced extreme ultraviolet lithography, crucial for AI and mobile applications. This investment enhances IMS' independence and fosters innovation, including high-numerical-aperture EUV technology. The deal is set to close in Q4 2023. IMS is vital for semiconductor industry growth, with the market projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030. Intel acquired IMS in 2015 and sold a 20% stake to Bain Capital earlier in 2023, while TSMC's partnership with IMS dates back to 2012.


About IMS Nanofabrication

IMS Nanofabrication Global, LLC, a majority-owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation, is the global technology leader for multi-beam mask writers. Its customers are the largest chip manufacturers in the world, who rely on its technology to produce current and future chip generations. IMS’ innovative multi-beam writers play a key role in chip manufacturing and provide significant added value to the semiconductor industry. They are continually customized and refined by an interdisciplinary team, in line with the latest market demands. Over the last 10 years, IMS has perfected its electron-based multi-beam technology. The first-generation multi-beam mask writer, MBMW-101, is successfully operating all over the world. The second-generation multi-beam mask writer, MBMW-201, entered the mask writer market in the first quarter of 2019 for the 5nm technology node. And this year, IMS is launching MBMW-301, a fourth-generation multi-beam mask writer that delivers unprecedented performance. Learn more at www.ims.co.at/en/.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

ASML Remains on Track to Deliver High NA EUV Machines in 2023

ASML, the leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer, is set to ship the first pilot tool from its next product line in 2023, despite some supplier delays, according to CEO Peter Wennink. These High NA EUV machines, crucial for top chipmakers to create smaller and better chips in the coming decade, will cost over $300 million euros each and provide up to 70% better resolution. ASML currently dominates the lithography market, a pivotal step in chipmaking, and is seeing strong demand for its older DUV machines, with 30% sales growth forecasted in 2023, primarily driven by Chinese customers.

ASML's High NA EUV machines are used by a range of prominent semiconductor manufacturers, including TSMC, Intel, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron. These chipmakers rely on ASML's cutting-edge lithography equipment to manufacture semiconductor chips, from microprocessors to memory chips.

"High NA" stands for "High Numerical Aperture." Numerical Aperture (NA) is a measure of the ability of an optical system, such as a lens or mirror, to gather and focus light. A higher numerical aperture indicates a greater ability to capture light and provide finer detail and resolution in imaging or lithography processes. ASML's High NA EUV machines, are designed to gather light from a wider angle compared to their previous generation tools. This wider angle collection of light allows for significantly improved resolution in the semiconductor manufacturing process, making it possible to create smaller and more advanced semiconductor chips with greater precision required for the Ångström Era - basically the sub 2 nm nodes.

Source:





TSMC's Silicon Photonics Investment Boosts AI Chip Efficiency for ChatGPT

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is heavily investing in silicon photonics, combining silicon chips and optical tech to enhance AI applications like ChatGPT. TSMC, the world's top contract chipmaker, aims to improve AI chip performance through silicon photonics, addressing energy efficiency and computing power issues. This technology integrates optics with silicon-based circuits for high-speed, low-power data transmission. Silicon photonics attracts substantial investment across the semiconductor industry, impacting data centers, supercomputers, networking, and more. TSMC is developing integrated silicon photonics systems with advanced chip packaging technology but has not yet entered mass production. The global silicon photonics market is projected to grow to $7.86 billion by 2030.

Source:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

TSMC Marks Major Milestone: First EUV Machine Installed in Arizona Fab, Job Opportunities Open

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has achieved a significant milestone in its Arizona manufacturing venture by installing its inaugural extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machine. This advanced machine, procured from Dutch semiconductor equipment leader ASML Holding NV, is a pivotal asset for TSMC's future high-end chip production endeavors.


EUV technology is a critical aspect of semiconductor fabrication, facilitating the printing of intricate designs on microchips significantly smaller than a human hair. TSMC's achievement underscores its commitment to innovation and technological leadership.

While the installation of the EUV machine marks a remarkable accomplishment, TSMC acknowledges that the setup of the new fab in Arizona involves numerous additional tasks. The company emphasized the need for approximately 2,000 skilled workers to handle the installation of various equipment pieces and services in the complex. This requirement stems from TSMC's unique tool configurations and specifications.

TSMC, recognized as the world's largest contract chip manufacturer, is channeling substantial investments amounting to $40 billion into constructing two wafer fabs in Phoenix. The first facility will employ the advanced 4-nanometer process, while the second, already under construction, will utilize the more sophisticated 3-nanometer process. This latter technology has already entered mass production in Taiwan.

The presence of skilled workers has been a contentious topic linked to the Arizona project. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu explained that a deficiency in experts capable of properly installing equipment at the Arizona site has led to a delay in mass production, now projected for 2025 rather than late 2024.

However, TSMC's approach to addressing this shortfall has sparked debates. The company's bid to bring in around 500 Taiwanese workers on temporary E-2 visas has faced resistance from local unions, who assert that prioritizing American jobs is paramount, especially considering the significant subsidies TSMC seeks under the CHIPS and Science Act. This legislation, signed by President Joe Biden, encourages semiconductor investments in the United States.

US Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona emphasized that the visa applications will be evaluated in accordance with established laws and procedures. As TSMC navigates these challenges, its progress in Arizona remains a focal point in the semiconductor industry's dynamic landscape.

TSMC installs first EUV machine in U.S.; job opening ads posted - Focus Taiwan

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

TSMC's 2nm Chip Plant Faces Delays in Taichung, Water and Electricity Hurdles Cited

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is experiencing setbacks in the construction of its highly anticipated 2-nanometer chip manufacturing plant in Taichung City, Taiwan. Delays have been attributed to challenges related to water and electricity supply, crucial for the resource-intensive chip fabrication process. This development comes as TSMC seeks to expand its manufacturing capabilities amid a rapidly evolving semiconductor landscape.

aiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a global leader in semiconductor manufacturing, is facing delays in the construction of its planned 2-nanometer chip manufacturing plant in Taichung City, Taiwan. The director of the agency responsible for managing science and technology infrastructure on the island has indicated that the construction will not commence by the end of this year.

TSMC initially intended to establish two 2-nanometer manufacturing sites in Taiwan, with the first site in Hsinchu City. However, due to delays in the approval process for the Taichung site, the company confirmed its decision to also manufacture next-generation chips in Kaohsiung City.

The primary challenges affecting the Taichung site relate to the plant's water and electricity requirements. Chip fabrication demands high-purity conditions, necessitating large volumes of pure water to meet product purity standards. TSMC has encountered obstacles in securing an adequate water supply, particularly during a 2021 drought that led the company to employ water tankers to fulfill its water needs.

These developments underscore the intricate logistical challenges inherent in semiconductor manufacturing, where resource-intensive processes require precise environmental conditions. While TSMC continues to innovate and expand its global operations, addressing these challenges becomes paramount to maintaining its position at the forefront of the semiconductor industry.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Intel Takes Strategic Steps to Regain Semiconductor Chip Leadership

Intel plans to separate its manufacturing and fabless units to regain its semiconductor chip leadership. The move aims to serve emerging markets and make chip manufacturing more efficient. Intel seeks to emulate TSMC's success and become the second-largest external foundry by 2030.

In an effort to reclaim its position as a leader in the semiconductor chip industry, Intel has announced plans to separate its manufacturing and fabless units. This strategic move aims to address evolving market dynamics and capitalize on emerging sectors such as cloud computing, edge computing, and artificial intelligence (AI). By granting independence to its foundry business and diversifying its chip production, Intel aims to regain its competitive edge and accelerate chip development.



Diversifying into New Markets

Intel's factories have traditionally focused on serving the PC and server markets, but the company recognizes the need to adapt to the changing landscape. By separating fabless and manufacturing operations, Intel can now cater to a broader customer base, including external clients. The new fabs, set to be operational by early 2024, will manufacture chips for non-Intel customers, making Intel a potential competitor to contract chip manufacturers like TSMC.

Emulating the TSMC Playbook

Intel's strategy shares similarities with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which has successfully produced chips for companies like Nvidia, Apple, and AMD. TSMC's approach of guaranteeing capacity to long-term partners during the recent chip shortage has proven effective. Intel aims to replicate this success by becoming the second-largest external foundry by 2030 and generating more than $20 billion in manufacturing revenue.

Competing for Internal Fab Capacity

The separation of fabless and manufacturing units introduces a new dynamic within Intel. Internal chip design units will now compete with external customers for fab capacity, potentially accelerating Intel's internal chip design efforts. The competition for volume will drive efficiency and faster innovation, as internal business units can leverage third-party foundries if they are willing to pay top dollar for guaranteed capacity.

Reviving Manufacturing Prowess

Intel's ability to deliver chips on time has been a key challenge, allowing TSMC to emerge as a leader in the industry. However, Intel aims to regain its position by focusing on advanced nodes such as the Intel 18A process, which incorporates cutting-edge technologies like gate-all-around (GAA) transistors. By emphasizing more efficient manufacturing processes and performance improvements, Intel intends to win back customers and regain its reputation as a reliable chip manufacturer.

Intel is expanding as a foundry in Europe

Intel's expansion plans in Europe took a significant step forward as the company signed a deal with the German government to build a €30 billion chip manufacturing site in Magdeburg. Germany will cover a third of the investment, marking the largest foreign direct investment in the country's modern history. The agreement was signed during a meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in Berlin. The investment will significantly expand Intel's production capacity in Europe and is seen as a crucial strategic move for Germany and Europe to establish self-sufficiency in strategic technologies. The project, known as the "Silicon Junction," is expected to create 3,000 high-quality jobs and additional positions in supplier networks. The EU's executive branch will review the plan to ensure fair competition. With this expansion, Germany aims to become one of the major global semiconductor production sites and reduce its dependence on imported chips and global supply chains. The completion of the twin semiconductor plants is expected by 2027 and will contribute to the EU's goal of decreasing reliance on China and the US for microchip production.

Conclusion

Intel's decision to separate its manufacturing and fabless units marks a strategic shift aimed at regaining its leadership in the semiconductor chip industry. By diversifying into emerging markets, emulating successful models like TSMC's, and focusing on advanced manufacturing processes, Intel hopes to reclaim its competitive edge and position itself as a leading player in the evolving landscape of chip manufacturing.

Source: 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Samsung to focus on treatment of gas used in chip production to achieve net-zero emissions

A major cause of greenhouse gas emissions is process gas used in semiconductor wafer manufacturing comes from processing equipment such as reactive ion etching (RIE) and deposition (CVD and ALD). You can read and watch an interview here and study that paper that was recently published by me and my professor friends Henrik Pedersen and Sean Barry:


Green CVD-Toward a sustainable philosophy for thin film deposition by chemical vapor deposition

It is almost obvious that higher VPs at Samsung and TSMC (LINK) did just that ;-)

[Korea Herald, Link below] Advancing abatement technologies to reduce carbon emissions is the top priority in the Samsung Electronics semiconductor unit's goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, a top official said Friday.

"Treatment of gas used to manufacture semiconductor chips is our biggest focus in our spending (to achieve net-zero emissions)," Song Doo-guen, executive vice president and head of the Environment & Safety Center at Samsung Electronics, told reporters at a briefing in Seoul.


According to the article, Song Doo-guen, executive vice president and head of the Environment & Safety Center at Samsung Electronics, speaks at a briefing in Seoul, Friday and announced that:
  • Samsung has pledged a 7 trillion won ($5 billion) investment to achieve its climate ambitions, and announced that it had recently joined RE100, a coalition comprising 380 global enterprises committed to becoming 100 percent renewable.
  • Alongside the plan to cut direct carbon emissions, Samsung has also laid out a raft of plans to reduce indirect emissions, mainly by pursuing ultralow-power chip products.
  • Other eco-conscious plans it has drawn up include capping the maximum use of freshwater to 300,000 tons a day by 2030 and eradicating gaseous and liquid pollutants by 2040 with treatment technology.
Source: Samsung chip plants look to stamp out carbon footprint (koreaherald.com)

Inside TSMC, the Taiwanese chipmaking giant that’s building a new plant in Phoenix

[CNBC, link below] Recently CNBC got an exclusive tour of the US$ 12 billion semiconductor fab, in Phoenix, Arizona, where TSMC will start making 5 nm chips in 2024. The company says it will ramp up to produce 20,000 wafers each month.

“This project is designed as a 5 nm fab. Actually, it’s a copy from the fab we have in Taiwan,” Chen said.

Nearby, one of the world’s largest cranes was lifted to its full height of 200 feet. The 2,300-ton crane was brought to the site on 153 semi trucks. Site supervisor Jim White said contractors have moved nearly 4 million cubic yards of dirt and have used more than 260 million gallons of water since construction began in April.



Building a fab and making chips takes an incredible amount of water, not an abundant resource in the middle of the desert. Arizona’s biggest water source is groundwater, but deep wells at big farms are using water up faster than it’s naturally replenished. Chen said TSMC needs around 4.7 million gallons of water each day to support production. In Arizona, TSMC said, an on-site water treatment center will recycle up to 90% of water used at the fab.

Full article with video:

Thursday, September 15, 2022

TSMC to double energy efficiency and clean water consumption for semiconductor wafer manufacturing

According to TSMC 2021 Sustainability Report, they aim to by 2030, amongst many goals & actions:

  • double energy efficiency after five years of mass production for each process technology
  • reduce unit water consumption (liter/12-inch equivalent wafer mask layers) by 30% (Base year: 2010)
Link to report: e-all.pdf (tsmc.com)



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Comparison confirms that SMIC reaches 7nm without access to western equipment & technologies

Similarities with TSMC 7nm have been found

After TechInsights revealed their initial findings on the SMIC MinerVa Bitcoin mining processor, their team did further analysis and comparison against TSMC 7nm. This new analysis confirms that despite current sanctions restricting access to the most advanced equipment technologies, Chinese Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) has used 7nm technology to manufacture the MinerVa Bitcoin Miner application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

The TechInsights analysis also uncovered many similarities between the SMIC 7nm and the TSMC 7nm, which are available in our comparison brief.




According to the SeekingAlpha assessment earlier this year (Applied Materials: SMIC Move To 7nm Node Capability Another Headwind (NASDAQ:AMAT) | Seeking Alpha) SMIC is using a large amount of multiple pattering mask layers like in the first TSMC and Samsung 7 nm nodes (N7). 

"At 7nm, normally 15 DUV systems and 5 EUV systems are demanded, depending on chip type and company. However, since SMIC is not permitted to use EUV, then they will be substituted by DUV, and 20 DUV systems will be used.

In both cases, multiple patterning is done to delineate that pattern, whether it is 28nm or 7nm. This multiple patterning process is more or less a trick to reach even the 28nm dimensions. The multiple patterning is typically a combination of deposition, etch, and lithography steps.

If we look at Chart 3 below, using immersion DUV (ArF-1) at the 20nm node there are 13 mask layers, each of which uses multiple dep-etch steps. If we move across the top of the chart, at 10nm there are 18 mask layers, an increase of 50% in the use of deposition-etch steps.

Multiple patterning at the 7nm node, as shown in the bottom left of the chart, requires 27 mask layers. However, by switching to EUV (bottom right) at 7nm, only 14 mask layers are required, similar to the 20nm node with DUV.

The terminology is as follows in switching from DUV to EUV:Double litho, double etch (LELE) process will be eliminated

While ArF-I would continue to be used for the self-aligned double patterning (SADP) and
Self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP) processes."
 

Table from SeekingAlpha as cited above

From an ALD point of view, the FEOL and metallization up to M2 use 19 in the case of Immersion Lithography (N7) vs 10 in the case of EUV (N7+) ALD spacer-defined multiple patterning masks (SADP or SAQP). However, the bigger difference is in etch for LELE etc., where EUV N7+ uses only 2 such masks.


Friday, January 7, 2022

TSMC Self-Aligned Via Process Development for Beyond the 3nm Node

Semiwiki Tom Dillinger reports on an interesting paper by TSMC at the recent IEDM 2021 conference in San Francisco using selective ALD with the help of SAMs or Dielectric on Dielectric (DOD) as it is called.




From the article sumary: Continued interconnect scaling below the 3nm node will necessitate unique process development research to maintain electrical and reliability specs in the presence of (up to 4nm) overlay error. The need for low-K interlevel dielectrics is a given – yet, the via etch in these materials is not especially tolerant of EPE.

TSMC has demonstrated a potential process flow for a “self-aligned via” with an additional DoD material. The etch rate differential of the DoD results in more robust via-to-adjacent metal reliability. This process flow utilizes two unique steps – the SAM of a blocking material on metal surfaces, and the selective ALD of a dielectric-on-dielectric.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

CBS 60 Minutes - Chip shortage highlights U.S. dependence on fragile supply chain

Seventy-five percent of semiconductors, or microchips — the tiny operating brains in just about every modern device — are manufactured in Asia. Lesley Stahl talks with leading-edge chip manufacturers, TSMC and Intel, about the global chip shortage and the future of the industry.
  • Pat Gelsinger: 25 years ago, the United States produced 37% of the world's semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. Today, that number has declined to just 12%
  • Within the world of global collaboration, there's intense competition. Days after Intel announced spending $20 billion on two new fabs, TSMC announced it would spend $100 billion over three years on R&D, upgrades, and a new fab in Phoenix, Arizona, Intel's backyard, where the Taiwanese company will produce the chips Apple needs but the Americans can't make.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger shows CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl a silicon wafer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Canon, SCREEN and Tokyo Electron to join Japan advanced chipmaking project for 2nm

Canon has partnered with Tokyo Electron and Screen Semiconductor Solutions to develop advanced chipmaking production technology with support from the Japanese government according to a report by Nikkei Asia.

♦ The $386mil USD funding from the Japanese government is through the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, along with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
♦ Japans semiconductor production industry has lost ground in recent years to Taiwanese chipmakers and companies like Intel.
The goal is to develop and implement a 2-nanometer or smaller process for chips by the mid-2020s.

Source (Paywall): LINK


Tokyo Electron semiconductor fab professionals shuffling wafers (credit: Tokyo Electron)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

2021 ISSCC - Plenary Session with Dr. Mark Liu, TSMC Chairman

TSMC recently delivered a plenary session at ISSCC 2021. by Dr. Mark Liu, TSMC Chairman. He gave a vision and path of how semiconductor technologies will continue to innovate over the coming years and decades. Below you can watch the Dr. Liu’s plenary session.

Abstract: The foundry business model, pioneered by TSMC more than three decades ago, brought a sea change to technology innovation and how integrated circuits (ICs) and systems are designed and manufactured. Access to semiconductor technology is no longer limited to large corporations that invest billions of dollars to build a fabrication plant. The foundry model has democratized IC innovation, making it available to all visionaries and innovators.

Today, an open innovation platform that connects innovators with semiconductor-technology providers is a vital link in the global supply chain. Our industry has already begun to look beyond just engineering individual chips manufactured on wafers, and have moved to integrate individual chips into systems. System performance and energy efficiency will continue to advance at historical rates, driven by innovations from many aspects, including materials, device and integration technology, circuit design, architecture, and systems. User applications drives design choices, and design choices are enabled by technology advancements. Advances in an open innovation ecosystem will further lower the entry barriers and unleash the future of innovation.



Saturday, November 28, 2020

Intel remains in the lead in 2020 semiconductor sales

IC Insights’ November shows the forecasted top-25 semiconductor suppliers in 2020. Seven top-15 semiconductor suppliers forecast to show ≥22% growth this year with Nvidia expected to post a huge 50% increase. The top-15 companies semiconductor sales are broken out into IC and O-S-D (optoelectronic, sensor, and discrete) device categories for 2019 and 2020. The forecasted 2020 top-15 semiconductor supplier ranking includes eight suppliers headquartered in the U.S., two each in South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe, and one in Japan.

Intel remains No 1. followed by Samsung and TSMC. 2020 show a very high growth for Fabless companies Qualcomm, Nvidia, MediaTek, Apple and AMD.

The Memory segment (DRAM and Flash) is led by SK Hynix +14% followed by Samsung +9% (incl. foundry) and Micron is down by -3%.

Please read the full IC Insights report here: LINK





Thursday, April 2, 2020

TSMC hit by 3nm delay fears over Covid-19 Lock-downs

TSMC is on schedule with its 5 nm process plan, but its 3 nm trial production may get delayed: The world's largest contract chipmaker is planning to launch mass production of its 3 nm process sometime in 2022, and media reported Monday that installation of production equipment in its 3 nm wafer fab in Tainan will be delayed to October from June this year, which will delay its trial production set for 2021. The COVID-19 escalation has hit Europe, and [Netherlands-based] ASML Holding, which is TSMC's major production equipment supplier, has been affected by a lockdown. It is understandable that the progress of TSMC's new technology has been affected.

Below a comparison of the Covid-19 daily new confirmed deaths, which is the only comparable parameter to use due to different testing capabilities and frequencies, in time and nation to nation. As can be seen the situation in Asian is under control after the gotten hit by the first wave of the Coronavirus. The European situation is stabilizing: Italy, Netherlands, Germany France, others look similar and are flattening the curve. In The USA situation is escalating. Many nations in Europe are forecasting a lift of Lockdown in May but are very careful, as an example Germany will decide in 19 April how to proceed according to Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

BALD Engineering AB continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation due to lockdowns that affect the  the semiconductor industry – Stay Safe!

Google Finance (2020-04-02, 10:39 CET)

Sources:

Taiwan shares edge lower, TSMC hit by 3nm delay fears

Our World of data: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

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By Abhishekkumar Thakur, Jonas Sundqvist