TSMC challenges Intel to 3-D semis

TSMC should be able to match Intel when it comes to shipping semiconductors with 3-D interconnects. 

Despite Intel announcing the technology, it did not think that it could get the 3-D transistors in the shops before 2012.

But according to a report circulated by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), TSMC’s projected delivery of 3-D chips matches that of Intel.

The report hints that there is a race on between TSMC and Chipzilla to produce the first 3-D chips.

However, according to Electronic Times, the technologies being talked about are different. TSMC and others have been developing technology for chips with 3-D interconnect for ages. It is called Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) and creates vertical connections that pass through die to connect different layers of a chip within the same package.

Chipzilla’s tri-gates are actually 3-D transistors and are known as a FinFets, because the silicon channel is akin to a fin jutting up from the semiconductor substrate.

TAITRA claims that the new technology is expected to override a number of difficulties posed by traditional “planar” transistors, which can only move electrons across two dimensions.

It quoted Shang-Yi Chiang, senior vice president for R&D at TSMC saying that his outfit has been working closely with chip packagers and providers of design auto software to commercialize 3-D chip technology.