TSMC is already planning 1nm chips, but objections from residents forced a rethink

Next year iPhone 16 Pro models are expected to use a scaled-down version of TSMC's 3nm process Chip maker Apple is already planning production their first 1nm chips …

TSMC&#8217 ;processes for producing smaller and smaller chips

Apple used to divide orders for A-series chips between Samsung and TSMC, but the situation changed with the release of the iPhone 6. At that time, TSMC received 100% of Apple's orders, and it remains so this day.

The reason? While Samsung's chip-making capabilities have stalled, TSMC has continued to push out smaller and smaller processors, narrowing the gap between transistors so that more and more of them can fit on the same size chip.

A17 chip Pro in the two iPhone 15 Pro models is made using a 3nm process technology; Next year's iPhone 16 Pro is expected to use an even smaller version of this process, known as N3E; with 2nm process technology in 2025. A 2nm fab is currently being built in Kaohsiung, in the south of the country.

TSMC is counting on 1nm chips

But the Taiwanese chip maker is not even thinking rest on its laurels and is already making plans to produce 1nm chips, which is close to the likely physical limits of transistor gate sizes.

The company initially stopped at a site for its first 1nm chip fab, but that meant would be the relocation of some residents. They objected, and now TSMC has agreed to look elsewhere, Reuters reports.

The world's largest contract chipmaker intended to build the 1st generation processor. nanometer chip plant in Longtang, according to a Central News Agency report in December [but TSMC] said it would not build a state-of-the-art chip plant in rural northern Taiwan after local residents protested, saying they did not want to move to enable expansion of the industrial park.

The company said it will work with the government science park administration “to evaluate land in Taiwan suitable for building semiconductor manufacturing plants.” It makes no mention of potential alternative sites.

Chip production requires significant amounts of electricity and water, meaning setting up a new plant requires significant investment in infrastructure, but the country's economy minister says that the government will provide assistance given the importance of the industry.

Photo: Maxence Pira/Unsplash

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