back to article Things are going to get weird as the nanometer era draws to a close

With 3nm production reaching maturity and 2nm on the way, TSMC is reportedly laying the groundwork for the next logical step, a 1nm fab. According to Taiwanese media, TSMC has its sights set on building advanced chip kit in the island nation's Chiayi Science Park, with a plan to produce state-of-the-art chips based on a 1nm …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold up!

    "representing 20 angstroms or about two nanometer"

    20 Å is precisely 2 nm, dear boy!

    1. HuBo

      Re: Hold up!

      Yes, but relativistic electrons might only see 1.8nm out of those 20Ås, as they revel in silicon beaches at breakneck speeds, via quantum flip-flops, or stochastic dune buggies (FPGA look-up tables -- LUts?) ... (or so I hear!).

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Hold up!

        I doubt you'll find too many relativistic electrons in a CPU. Not for long, anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Hold up!

      But what is it in Linguine?

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Hold up!

        ...probably a few eggs short of a carbonara

  2. DS999 Silver badge


    Similar to how they refer to "3 nm" processes as N3, beyond N2 they are naming them A14 (1.4 nm) and A10 (1 nm)

    And yes it bears repeating that nothing in modern processes has any feature size that's 3 nm in size, so no worries about becoming smaller than the diameter of a silicon atom anytime soon as they progress to 1 nm and smaller.

  3. ecofeco Silver badge


    Well worth the read.

  4. HuBo

    Weird is as weird does

    We're probably safe until we reach the scale of the quantum random walk (of a drunkhard) whenceforthwithwhile the entangled state of superposed Shannon information is simultaneously everywhere, and nowhere, until observed by a sober party. Beyond that point, it'll be either live turtles all the way down, or bowls of spicy turtle soup, also all the way down, there's just no way to tell which at this current junction, because, ironically -- behavior of the quantum field-effect is, bipolar (smelling of teen spirit!)!

    More mature tech is wildly over-rated!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Weird is as weird does

      Ooh look, amanfrommars has brought a friend.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: Weird is as weird does

        A poetic, language-appreciating friend to boot. Hurrah for the new AMFM!!

    2. Bebu Silver badge

      Re: Weird is as weird does

      《...whenceforthwithwhile the entangled state of superposed Shannon information is simultaneously everywhere, and nowhere, until observed by a sober party. Beyond that point, it'll be either live turtles all the way down, or bowls of spicy turtle soup, also all the way down,...》

      A nod to Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" - "Shenanegans Woke?"

      Reminds me of Douglas Adams' "Infinite Improbability Drive" and Trillian's countdown on "The Heart of Gold" to normality:

      "We have normality, I repeat we have normality." ... "Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."

      1. PerlyKing

        Re: Weird is as weird does

        It must have been just before that that someone said "we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway" :-)

  5. kuiash

    Glass substrate you say?

    Reminds me of this beauty from eons ago.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going to get weird.

    GAA, FinFETs, chiplets and god knows what else would be considered pretty weird a few chip generations ago. I look forward to seeing whatever weirdness comes next.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Going to get weird.

      I've already reached the point of non-understanding of the techniques and technologies involved and have decided that it's just "magic" now as per the Arthur C. Clarke quote.

  7. chasil

    Advanced Package

    I found this interview to be quite interesting.

    'We use a three generation older technologies and it worked very well... That was the first generation. Xilinx worked with TSMC on CoWoS. Their codename was CoWoS. It’s a funny name for TSMC’s silicon interposer. That was a first-generation advanced package technology.

    'Qualcomm was our biggest customer... I talked to one of their VP. I talked to them many, many times, until one time, I had dinner with one of their VP, and he just very casually told me, he said, you know, “If you want to sell that to me, I would only pay one cent per millimeter square.” One cent per millimeter square. He said, “That’s the only cost I will pay for it.” I said, “How come you didn't tell me earlier?” He said, “You should know that. Why I should tell you? You should know that.” But, I didn’t know that.

    "I said, “Please go to figure out how much that CoWoS costs us.” Seven cents per millimeter square. So that's why we couldn't sell it. I said, “Let’s develop something that costs one cent, and you can relax the performance, and you sacrifice performance.” Our second generation called InFO meet that criteria and it was sell like a hotcake. So that one word saved my life and the InFO was why Apple was hooked by TSMC. Earlier, why TSMC couldn't get Apple business, early stage, because Samsung offer them a package solution by wire bond DRAM on top of CPU, on top of the AP, and TSMC couldn’t do that.'

  8. Bebu Silver badge

    Can the foundaries cope?

    In the ångström era the demand for the funny A and Os (å, ö, Å) might exceed the exceed the foundaries' capacity to produce them.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Can the foundaries cope?

      Man, everyone's a diacritic.

    2. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

      Re: Can the foundaries cope?

      I'm sure a solution will be found. No need for any angst.

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