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TSMC resolves 40nm yield issues

Posted: 06 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TSMC 40nm? yield issue? SRAM?

Silicon foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd posted better-than-expect results in Q1 09.

During a conference call with analysts, Rick Tsai, president and CEO of TSMC, acknowledged that the company had some "yield" issues with its new 40nm process. He also provided some predictions for 2009.

Last year, TSMC rolled out its 40nm process. In Q1 09, the company's 40nm process represented about 1 percent of its overall sales, which is better-than-expected. In Q2, TSMC expects to have 2 percent of its overall sales in the 40nm arena.

When an analyst asked about yield problems with the company's 40nm process, Tsai said: "There have been difficulties with the yields. 40nm is a difficult technology to manufacturer. We understand the root of the problem."

The TSMC CEO said the company has or is fixing the problem, but he did not elaborate. He also said that TSMC has demonstrated a functional SRAM cell, based on its upcoming 28nm process, which includes high-k and metal gates for the gate stack.

The 28nm process will also include a second gate-stack option, based on more conventional silicon dioxide. As previously reported, TSMC is expected to move into 28nm production in the first part of 2010.

Market drop
During the call, Tsai also gave his new predictions for the industry. According to Tsai, 2009 overall IC industry will be down 20 percent, while foundry business will drop 25 to 30 percent, y-on-y. He also predicted that 2009 PC unit, handset and consumer electronic shipments will be down 8, 12 and 7 percent, respectively.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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