Foundries race to ready their 7nm process nodes

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 25 2016 @ 13:28 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
TSMC as well as the triumvirate formed by IBM, GlobalFoundries and Samsung will reveal details about their 7nm processes at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in early December. Based on earlier news, TSMC is expected to launch its 7nm node first, with some limited production slated for 2017.

While TSMC will continue to use immersion lithography for this 7nm node, Samsung recently confirmed it will skip a 7nm immersion node. Instead, GlobalFoundries and Samsung are working on a 7nm process that utilizes Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

The companies claim their 7nm EUV node will deliver “the tightest contacted polysilicon pitch (44/48nm) and metallization pitch (36nm) ever reported for FinFETs”. For comparison, the Intel 10nm node, which is expected to hit mass production in 2017, has a reported 56nm gate pitch.
Using EUV, GF and Samsung claim they will deliver “the tightest contacted polysilicon pitch (44/48nm) and metallization pitch (36nm) ever reported for FinFETs,” in an abstract for the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM).

The pitches leapfrog the 56nm gate pitch Intel announced in August for its 10nm process, claiming industry-leading density for the node it aims to have in production next year. Observers have started to suggest both TSMC and Samsung might leapfrog Intel which has slowed the pace of releasing new process technologies as progress in Moore’s law becomes more complex and costly.
There is still quite a bit of work to be done to get EUV ready for mass production, but the companies hope the node will be ready for production before the end of 2018. You can read the full piece at EE Times.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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