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In semiconductor fabrication, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) defines the 10 nanometer (10 nm) node as the technology node following the 14 nm node. "10 nm class" denotes chips made using process technologies between 10 and 20 nanometers.

All production "10 nm" processes are based on silicon CMOS finFET technology.

"10nm" chip production started in 2016; product shipments started in 2017.

Background[edit]

The ITRS's original naming of this technology node was "11 nm". According to the 2007 edition of the roadmap, by the year 2022, the half-pitch (i.e., half the distance between identical features in an array) for a DRAM should be 11 nm.

In actuality, "10nm" as it is generally understood in 2018 is only in high-volume production at Samsung. GlobalFoundries has skipped 10nm, Intel has not yet started high-volume 10nm production, due to yield issues, and TSMC has considered 10nm to be a short-lived node,[1] mainly dedicated to processors for Apple during 2017-2018, moving on to 7nm in 2018.

There is also a distinction to be made between 10nm as marketed by foundries and 10nm as marketed by DRAM companies.

Technology production history[edit]

On 17 October 2016, Samsung Electronics announced mass production at 10 nm.[2] The technology's main announced challenge has been triple patterning for its metal layer.[3][4]

On 21 April 2017, Samsung started shipping their Galaxy S8 smartphone which uses the company's version of the 10 nm processor.[5]

On 12 June 2017, Apple delivered second-generation iPad Pro tablets powered with TSMC-produced Apple A10X chips using the 10 nm FinFET process.[6]

On September 12, 2017, Apple announced the Apple A11, a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip, manufactured by TSMC using a 10 nm FinFET process and containing 4.3 billion transistors on a die of 87.66 mm2.

In April 2018, Intel announced a delay in availability of 10 nm chips in volume production until sometime in 2019.[7] In July the exact time was further pinned down to the holiday season.[8]

10 nm process nodes[edit]

Foundry[edit]

ITRS Logic Device

Ground Rules

Intel

(limited)

Samsung TSMC
Process name 11/10 nm 10 nm 10 nm 10 nm
Transistor Fin Pitch (nm) 36 34 42 36
Transistor Fin Height (nm) 42 53 49 Unknown
Transistor Gate Pitch (nm) 48 54 68 66
Interconnect pitch (nm) 36 36 51 44

[9]

Transistor gate pitch is also referred to as CPP (contacted poly pitch) and interconnect pitch is also referred to as MMP (minimum metal pitch). Samsung reported their 10 nm process as having a 64 nm transistor gate pitch and 48 nm interconnect pitch. TSMC reported their 10 nm process as having a 64 nm transistor gate pitch and 42 nm interconnect pitch. Further investigation by Tech Insights revealed these values to be false and they have been updated accordingly. In addition, the transistor fin height of Samsung's 10 nm process was updated by MSSCORPS CO at SEMICON Taiwan 2017.[10][11][12][13][9]

DRAM[edit]

For the DRAM industry, the "10nm" node is often referred to as "10-nm class" and this dimension generally refers to the half-pitch of the active area. The "10nm" foundry structures are generally much larger. Samsung is also the most prominent player for 10nm-class DRAM.[14]

References[edit]


Preceded by
14 nm
CMOS manufacturing processes Succeeded by
7 nm

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