Samsung Electronics and Taiwanese foundry maker TSMC are intensifying competition to take the lead in development of ultra-microprocessing technologies.
Taiwan's TSMC, the No. 1 player in the global foundry market, has recently completed a system semiconductor design platform for its 5-nanometer process, according to industry sources on April 15. As TSMC has completed the process design platform, it is likely that the construction of the facility has also come close to comletion.
As the industry leader is ready to introduce the 5 nano process, Samsung Electronics, the second-largest competitor in the industry, is expected to accelerate the development of ultra-microprocessing technology.
Samsung Electronics said last year that it has completed the performance verification of a 3-nanometer process and was working for technological perfection. The company is developing a technology in which a gate-all-around (GAA) transistor structure has been applied to a 3-nanometer process.
GAA is a next-generation transistor structure that has been improved from the FinFET structure used in current semiconductor processing. Unlike FinFET, where the gate wraps around the three sides of the channel, the gates in GAA encloses all four sides of the channel, which allows the current flow to be controlled more precisely. Samsung explained that from the 3-nano process, it becomes a whole new level of microprocessing.
In addition, Samsung Electronics and TSMC are in competition over the timing of mass production of 7-nanometer EUV technology products. The 7-nanometer EUV lithography is the industry's most advanced micro-processing technology to date that can be applied to production line.
EUV is a light source that can replace argon fluoride (ArF) used in conventional processes. The wavelength of EUV is less than 1/14 of that of ArF, making it suitable for finer semiconductor circuit pattern implementation. In addition, the complex multi-patterning process can be reduced, which has the advantage of ensuring both high performance and productivity of semiconductors.
Some industry observers believe that timing of mass production of the latest microprocessing technology-applied products will be a measure of the degree of competition and technological development in the future market.
In the industry, Samsung Electronics and TSMC are expected to start mass production of products using 7-nanometer EUV technology ahead of schedule. In addition, it is reported that they are competing to get the market initiative.