TSMC Says 2nm Production Will Start In 2025 – Advanced (High NA) Machines Will Be Acquired In 2024

Sep 13, 2022 10:59 AM EDT
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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) aims to mass produce its 2 nanometer (nm) semiconductor manufacturing process in 2025 according to reports from the Taiwanese media. TSMC is currently gearing up to ramp up the production of its 3nm node, which is thought to be among the most advanced chipmaking technologies in the world, and company representatives assured members of the press in Taiwan that it will continue to lead the global semiconductor industry through the next generation technology.

TSMC Will Acquire ASML's High NA EUV Chipmaking Machines In 2024 Says Executive

The details were shared by TSMC's senior vice president for research and development and technology Dr. Y.J. Mii and are reported by the United Daily News (UDN). A key constraint in the chipmaking industry, which often becomes a crucial factor in deciding whether a company can gain a lead over its competitors.

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Manufacturing technologies that cover advanced 7nm and smaller products require machines that use extreme ultraviolet light to print billions of tiny circuits in a small area. These machines, called EUV, are currently being used only by TSMC, Samsung and Intel Corporation - however further advances in chipmaking technologies that involve a further reduction in circuit size will make it difficult for the chipmakers to continue to work with them.

The next phase in chipmaking will see manufacturers switch to machines with larger lenses. These are dubbed high NA (numeric aperture), and Dr. Mii outlined that his company will receive them in 2024. From this, it appears that TSMC will use these machines for making chips with its 2-nm manufacturing process since the executive also highlighted that this technology will enter mass production in 2025. The timeline confirms an earlier estimate that the firm provided at its first technology symposium in the U.S. that was held earlier this year, where it is also building a brand new fab currently designed to churn out 5nm chips by 2024.

Dr. Y.J. Mii during his keynote at TSMC's 2021 Online Technology Symposium. Image: TSMC 2021 Online Technology Symposium/Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company

Since its conference in the U.S., TSMC has also held other events in Asia where it has shared details for the 2nm manufacturing technology. These have revealed that as of now, the company aims for its new technology to improve performance over the currently latest 3nm technology ranging between 10% and 15%. Additionally, the new technology also stands to reduce power consumption by between 25% and 30%

Another TSMC executive revealed that when his company does get its hands on the machines in 2024, then initially they will be used only for research and development and collaboration purposes before moving forward to mass production. Acquiring advanced machines is only the first step in the acquisition of these valuable capital assets, as firms then have to work with the machine's sole manufacturer, the Dutch firm ASML, to tweak the machines to their desired requirements.

These latest details were shared by the executives during TSMC's Taiwan Technology Forum held earlier this month, and at the event, they also outlined progress with 3nm chip fabrication. They outline that the first generation 3nm technology is on track to be manufactured this year, while an advanced version that is dubbed N3E will hit the production lines next year.

TSMc's 3nm technology has been at the center of a couple of controversies this year after its rival Samsung jumped the gun to announce mass production in the first half of this year and market reports claimed that TSMC will cut down capital expenditure due to order problems from Intel Corporation. In the face of such news, the Taiwanese company, which is also the world's largest contract chip manufacturer has repeatedly asserted that 3nm production is on track.

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