TSMC Will Most Likely Use EUV Lithography For Its 5 nm Chips

Omar Sohail
Posted Jul 22, 2015
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EUV lithography, or extreme ultraviolet lithography will be the driving force for TSMC after its upcoming 10 nm chip manufacturing. For quite a long time, the Taiwanese firm has been talking about using this form of lithography, particularly when it comes to mass producing 7 nm and 5 nm chips. However, the only thing that is keeping the company limited in its actions to expedite the smaller manufacturing process is that the appropriate equipment will take some time to become available (give or take 2-3 years). 5 nm chips are still four to five years from production, but it is always good to work out plans for the future.

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EUV For 5 nm Chips Will Improve Yields Significantly, And Will Pave The Way For Smaller Lithographic Chip Processing

According to a report, extreme ultraviolet lithography scanners possess lasers that that are able to eliminate the variable of multi-patterning. This will result in the shrinking of cycle times, improving yields significantly to the point that smaller chips will be able to get mass produced using this process, which will be 5 nm.

Currently, no semiconductor manufacturing is in possession of these EUV scanners but ASML, the leading manufacturer of semiconductor production equipment, is working in collaboration with TSMC and other companies in order to prepare for the future. TSMC’s current goal is going to be using EUV for 7 nm chips, followed by 5 nm ones.

Mark Liu, who is the President and Co-CEO of TSMC, states the following:

“As you can see in our 7 nm development schedule, that we will probably be using EUV. We are also planning to use EUV at 5nm. But of course it does depend on certain development criteria, milestones to be reached.”

In addition to TSMC, Intel will also be planning to use EUV tools in order to mass produce 7 nm chips. The leading maker for desktop, laptop and server processors has been on a ‘chip delay’ spree, forcing the company to push back its CPU lineup based on a smaller lithographic process.

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For now, TSMC and Samsung have commenced mass production of Apple’s A9 SoC, which will be used in the tech giant’s iPhone 6s duo, and possibly its iPad lineup.

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