5nm Fab on Target for April Rollout

March 18, 2020 | 15:03
5nm Fab on Target for April Rollout
5nm Fab on Target for April Rollout
The world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reports it is on target to start manufacturing chips in 5 nm technology next month. This news comes about despite the Global disruption to manufacturing caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

TMSC’s latest 5 nm technology is thought to offer a density of 160 Mtr/mm2, compared to Intel's 7 nm technology which achieves approximately 200 Mtr/mm2. The Mtr/mm2 rating is a figure of the number of mega-transistors per square millimeter that can be crammed onto a wafer.

Various Multi-Gate-Transistor topologies. Image: Shigeru23/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Although TSMC's manufacturing technology appears to be about a year ahead of Intel’s it is thought that Intel’s  future 5nm technology will achieve a slightly higher transistor density than TSMC's planned 3nm technology. Overall, the manufacturing processes of the two competitors are more or less on a par.

To protect production facilities at the company it is now necessary for visitors with a travel history to European countries to self-isolate for 14 days before they are allowed to enter TSMC premises. TSMC is taking all this trouble to ensure that chip orders from both Apple and Huawei are not disrupted.
Samsung is reportedly aiming to switch from FinFETs to GAAFETs next year. The GAAFET achieves better packing density but it is thought that Intel will not take this step to 5 nm technology until 2023 while TSMC is aiming for 3 nm fab in 2024.

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