Video of how Intel 10nm processor travels from one device to anotherMarch 23, 2020
Intel has posted a video providing a glimpse into its manufacturing process. The video was posted earlier this month and is really worth the watch.
As you will see within the video, a chip travels “hundreds of miles” along Intel’s automated lines because it goes from one device to another. A processor or rather, wafer, goes through over 1,000 steps building up and forming transistors before it even heads off to die packaging.
Intel briefly goes over a few of the expertise that underpins its FinFET process, like “Gate-Last” and High-K Metal Gate formation. There’s additionally a section that mentions Intel’s COAG (contact over active gate) technology, which has been rumored to have been a contributing factor in Intel’s troubles with 10nm yields.
The video then proceeds to the portion where dozens of interconnected wires are added to complete the circuit. To tremendously over-simply things, resistance will increase as transistors decrease in size, and scaling the wires to the transistors introduces different issues, like points with electromigration. To fight this, Intel moved away from copper wiring to cobalt for interconnects.
Intel details its contact over active gate (COAG) technology at 3:10 in the video. This tech builds the contact portion of the transistor over the gate instead of extending it from the end of the transistor as Intel has done in the past. That reduces the overall area consumed by the transistors, thereby improving density (more details here at WikiChip). Intel is rumored to have altered, or perhaps even removed (which is unlikely), its COAG feature from its newer iterations of the 10nm process. This part of the design is key, as it helps dictate the performance of transistors that switch on and off at a rate exceeding five billion cycles a second with the 14nm process, but those speeds fall considerably with the 10nm process.
Once more, that is another move that has been rumored to have been problematic for Intel’s 10nm process.
Intel not too long ago outlined the way it believes it will likely be behind its rivals (primarily TSMC) by way of course of management for a while to return. It should take Intel till the end of 2021, when it rolls out its 7nm process — barring any issues — to achieve process parity with TSMC. Intel would not anticipate to achieve process management once more till 5nm, which might be at earlier than 2023.