TSMC To Adopt Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography For 5nm Chips
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. just made a big splash by announcing its plans to fully adopt Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography in order to create 5nm chips. TSMC plans to launch these 5nm chips, thanks to extreme ultraviolet lithography, by the end of this decade and make them an integral part of manufacturing by 2020.
“We estimate that EUV will be a cost-effective tool for high-volume manufacturing by 2020, in time for our 5nm ramp,” said TSMC’s Co-CEO Mark Liu.
The company is aiming to improve density, reduce production costs and simply the production process by using EUV lithography extensively over the next few years. According to the company, 7nm chips were an integral part of their design process and were used for good integration of EUV scanners. The company has also added a 125 watt EUV source in its ASML NEX 3350 equipment.
Up to now, the commercial viability of EUV has been in question. TSMC competitors such as Samsung appear more convinced about the commercial viability of EUV which is also why it has been reported that Samsung will be using EUV at 7 nanometers. Generally, however, the industry is optimistic about EUV lithography because of the solid progress throughout these past few years.
According to Mark Liu, the company’s 10nm chips have moved from R&D to production. The company will be analyzing its revenue generation during the first quarter of 2017 and is hopeful that the 10nm technology will rise steeply through the year.
TSMC and Samsung aren’t the only companies interested in EUV, although they are the biggest ones researching it right now. Other big names such as Intel and GlobalFoundries are also ready to jump aboard and use EUV tools “as soon as it makes sense”.
They all agree on one thing though, that EUV lithography will be required if they are interested in producing 7nm chips. Intel believes that to make EUV a reality, in addition to many other things, the industry needs to improve yields, decrease costs and develop an ecosystem of EUV photomasks.