Intel Corp. will likely start making central processing units using 10nm fabrication process next year, but the company is already hard at work developing an even more advanced process technology. According to Intel, it already knows well how to produce chips at 7nm node.
“After 10nm, comes 7nm [manufacturing technology] and we feel very confident that we have line of sight of how to manufacture that node,” said Renee James, president of Intel, during a Q&A session with stockholders at the company’s annual meeting. “Overall, we think, we are in a very good shape.”
Intel naturally does not reveal any details about its 7nm process technology today. What is known is that the company is working on new materials that will be used for making 7nm chips. In addition, it is expected that Intel and other makers of semiconductors will change the structure of transistors for their 7nm nodes.
David Kanter, a well-known industry expert from RealWorldTech, believes that Intel will adopt Quantum Well FETs (QWFETs) that use a fin geometry and high-mobility channel materials to achieve excellent transistor performance at nominal operating voltages around 0.5V (down from 0.7V today) already at 10nm.
Intel will likely start using its 7nm fabrication process sometimes in 2018 or 2019.
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KitGuru Says: The most important thing about Intel’s 7nm technology today is that the company is working on it. Semiconductor makers hardly share a lot of details about their future manufacturing processes. Therefore, the fact that Intel even names the node indicates that it is more or less confident about it and its feature sizes.