Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s most advanced and largest semiconductor manufacturer, is gearing up to move from a 14nm process technology to what it calls N + 1. The production of the new process technology on a limited scale should begin in the fourth quarter.
Recently, the manufacturer spoke in sufficient detail about N + 1, adding that the new process has already attracted customers for whom consumer solutions will be made using it, including application processors and microcircuits responsible for connecting to TVs, mobile and wearable devices.
Recognizing that this is a 14-nanometer process technology, SMIC claims that in some aspects it is able to compete with Samsung’s 7-nanometer process technology and TSMC.
In particular, in comparison with the current 14-nanometer process technology, an increase in productivity by 20 and a decrease in energy consumption by 57% are provided. The size of the logic elements is reduced by 63%, and the total area of SoC – by 55%. These indicators bring N + 1 to the level of 7-nanometer technological processes of competitors, excluding, perhaps, productivity. On the other hand, this is offset by a lower cost, in honesty, due to fewer masks.
The process technology N + 1 and the subsequent N + 2 lithography in the hard ultraviolet range (EUV) is not used. But over time, the formation of some layers in N + 2 is planned to be transferred to EUV.