Moore’s Law slows
In the midst of all the changes, old age caught up with Moore’s Law. The new 28-nm node came on too slowly to serve the needs of all the mobile systems clamoring for low power chips.
Looking at the road map, it became clear the industry has no big leaps ahead. Instead it is facing a set of small and increasingly expensive half-steps.
Blame the lack of new lithography. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) continued to miss schedules, slipping perhaps beyond usefulness even in the 10 nm node.
Industry giants Intel, Samsung and TSMC, stepped up to the plate. They coughed up billions in investments in ASML, helping it acquire Cymer, hoping to create the heft to bust through the problems delivering a light source for EUV. Success is likely but not guaranteed.
Today prototype EUV machines from ASML (above) put out less than 20 wafers an hour. They need to make more than 100 per hour to be commercially useful.
ASML to buy lithography source vendor Cymer
Intel sees quad-patterned path to 10-nm chips
Ten shifts in chips, comms: