Print  |  Send  |   

TSMC's R&D chief sees 10 years of scaling

October 26, 2011 // DylanMcGrath

TSMC's R&D chief sees 10 years of scaling

The path is clear for continued semiconductor scaling using FinFETs for the next decade, down to the 7-nm node, according to Shang-Yi Chiang, senior vice president of R&D at foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Beyond 7-nm, the most pressing challenges to continued scaling will come from economics, not technology, Chiang said in a keynote address at the ARM TechCon event.

Chiang said he has faith that the semiconductor industry will solve technical hurdles associated with moving past 7-nm over the next decade, but acknowledged that the new technologies might make volume manufacturing of chips with critical dimensions smaller than 7-nm cost prohibitive.

"From node to node, we have found the wafer price has increased much more than previous nodes," Chiang said.

In another ARM TechCon keynote later, Chi-Ping Hsu, senior vice president of R&D at in EDA vendor Cadence Design Systems' Silicon Realization Group, presented data on dramatic cost increases associated with moving from the 32/28-nm node to the 22/20-nm node. The amount of money invested by the semiconductor industry in process R&D, for instance, jumped from $1.2 billion at 32/28 to between $2.1 billion and $3 billion at 22/20, Hsu said. Design costs for a chip jump from $50 million to $90 million at 32-nm to $120 million to $500 million at 22-nm, Hsu said.

At the 32-nm node, a chip needs to sell about 30 to 40 million units to recoup the costs associated with it, Hsu said. At the 20-nm node, the "breakeven" point jumps to between 60 and 100 million units, Hsu said.

FinFETs are three-dimensional transistors in the early stages of being adopted by chip makers. Intel Corp., which refers to its 3-D transistor technology as "tri-gate," is expected to begin sampling 22-nm chips with 3-D transistors later this year.

Chiang said the 20-nm node will be the last generation at which the semiconductor industry can possibly use a planar transistor. "After that, it will run out of steam," Chiang said.

All news

Analog & Mixed Signal ICs

Follow us

Fast, Accurate & Relevant for Design Engineers only!

Technical papers     

Linear video channel


Read more


This month, Novelda is giving away two full XeThru Inspiration kits worth 1499 US Dollars each, for EETimes Europe's readers to experiment first hand with its XeThru technology.

Based on the use of radio waves, rather than infrared, ultrasound or light, the company's X2M1000 Inspiration modules can detect presence just from the chest movement while breathing, and measure both the rate and...


Design centers     

Infotainment Making HDTV in the car reliable and secure

December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974

Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.


You must be logged in to view this page

Login here :