TSMC Does Take its Own Way – Bad Arithmetic! – Chipworks Inside Angle | Blog on Semiconductor International
TSMC Does Take its Own Way – Bad Arithmetic!
August 28, 2009
Gate-last HKMG has continued to dominate my thinking over the last few days. The speculation in my last entry that Intel may have transferred HKMG technology to TSMC as part of the Atom agreement announced in March turns out to be just that, speculation. Since Tuesday I received an email from Intel definitively denying that any process technology had been transferred to TSMC. Bad arithmetic – 2 + 2 in this case did equal 22!
So it appears my caveats in the last blog about a possible HKMG process transfer were well-founded. Even though speculation is really fun, one must always remember that it is still pure postulation, and the odds of getting it right are on the small side. Although, if we scroll down to the comments, we can see it does provoke discussion!
In a way, though, that makes TSMC’s announcement even more significant. In industry terms, it means that the biggest IDM (in Intel’s case, five years ago or maybe more) and the biggest pure-play foundry have independently come to the same conclusion, that gate-last HKMG is more manufacturable and better performing than the gate-first variety. As we said a couple of days ago, this could be the start of a trend.
Coincidentally, Fujitsu yesterday released an agreement that they would be partnering with TSMC on 28-nm processing; and a couple of years ago, they had a gate-last HKMG paper at IEDM… no, let’s not go there!
We’ll see what happens as other 32/28-nm processes start to get closer to production. We at Chipworks will be checking them out, that’s for sure.