Beyond 10 nm at TSMC: 7 nm DUV and 7 nm EUV

As noted previously, TSMC’s 7 nm node will be used by tens of companies for hundreds of chips targeting different applications. Initially, the company plans to offer two versions of the manufacturing technology: one for high-performance, and one for mobile applications, both of which will use immersion lithography and DUV. Moreover, eventually TSMC intends to introduce a more advanced 7nm fabrication process that will use EUV for critical layers, taking a page from GlobalFoundries’ book (which is set tp start 7 nm with DUV and then introduces second-gen 7 nm with EUV).

TSMC’s first-generation CLN7FF will enter risk production in Q2 2017 and will be used for over a dozen of tape outs this year. It is expected that high-volume manufacturing (HVM) using the CLN7FF will commence in ~Q2 2018, so, the first “7-nm” ICs will show up in commercial products in the second half of next year. When compared to the CLN16FF+, the CLN7FF will enable chip developers to shrink their die sizes by 70% (at the same transistor count), drop power consumption by 60% or increase frequency by 30% (at the same complexity).

The second-generation 7 nm from TSMC (CLN7FF+) will use EUV for select layers and will require developers to redesign EUV layers according to more aggressive rules. The improved routing density is expected to provide ~10-15-20% area reduction and enable higher performance and/or lower power consumption. In addition, production cycle of such chips will get shorter when compared to ICs made entirely using DUV tools. TSMC plans to start risk production of products using its CLN7FF+ in Q2 2018 and therefore expect HVM to begin in H2 2019.

Advertised PPA Improvements of TSMC's CLN7FF Nodes
Data announced by TSMC during conference calls, press briefings and in press releases
Power 60% <40% 10% lower
Performance 30% ? lower higher
Area Reduction 70% >37% ~10-15-20% tangible
HVM Start ~Q2 2018 - ~H2 2019 ~H2 2020

As it turns out, all three leading foundries (GlobalFoundries, Samsung Foundry and TSMC) all intend to start using EUV for select layers with their 7 nm nodes. While ASML and other EUV vendors need to solve a number of issues with the technology, it looks like it will be two years down the road before it will be used for commercial ICs. Of course, certain slips are possible, but looks like 2019 will be the year when EUV will be here. In fact, keeping in mind that both TSMC and Samsung are already talking about their second-gen EUV technologies (which they call 5 and 6 nm) that will use more EUV layers, it looks like the foundries are confident of the ASML TwinScan NXE manufacturing tools (as well as of the Cymer light source, pellicles, photoresists, etc.) they are going to use.

10 nm: Samsung Is Shipping, TSMC Is Steady Beyond 10 nm at Samsung: 8 nm and 6 nm
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • mdriftmeyer - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Being 63.63 times smaller in diameter for an atom compared to the fab process is quite a large span in scale.
  • boeush - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - link

    One thing to consider, though, is that when atoms are bound into molecules via covalent bonds, the distances between their nuclei shrink below the sum of the adjacent atoms' stand-alone radii: in other words, chemically bound atoms pack together much more tightly than one might naively expect by conceptualizing each atom as a solid sphere...
  • Jon Tseng - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link


    Just wanted to get that out of the way early! :-p
  • Meteor2 - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    Indeed. The x nm labels are meaningless now; they may as well call them Bob and Joan.

    The only way to compare them is via the inter-node PPA change metrics. Anyone have numbers for 22->14 and 14->10 from Intel to hand?

    Even then I know Intel's 14 nm is better on at least power and performance than others' 14/16 nm, as the latter are actually 20 nm with FinFET added, but I'm not aware of any meaningful way of comparing them.
  • lefty2 - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    That's not totally true. The first iteration of Intel's 14nm performed worse than TSMC's 16nm. 14nm+ is much better though
  • Drumsticks - Friday, May 5, 2017 - link

    I'm not calling you wrong or anything, but can you source that? Intel's original 14nm might have had bad yields for a while, but I imagine it's difficult to compare outright performance without published numbers, given that Intel's 14nm went into CPUs with a frequency of 800MHz to 4.5 GHz, versus TSMC's biggest wins being Apple and GPUs, none of which went past the low 2GHzs. Obviously it's difficult to compare performance on frequency with something like that.
  • SuperMecha - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - link

    See page 4. There are probably several other factors that determine performance other than leakage and drive current.
  • Meteor2 - Sunday, May 7, 2017 - link

    Good link, and a good quote within:

    "Industry “10 nm” technologies are expected to ship sometime in 2017 and have similar density to Intel’s 14 nm technology that has been shipping since 2014."
  • helvete - Thursday, July 20, 2017 - link

    Would you expect anything else from Intel paper? (Not telling they are far from the truth)
  • lefty2 - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - link

    The first iteration of 14nm was Broadfield and Broadfield did not clock to 4.5GHz. Also, you can't compare to a smartphone SoC, which have to keep within a very small power envelope.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now