TSMC, Samsung, Intel & Others Join Forces For Next-Gen Chip Tech
The semiconductor industry is coming together to develop next-generation chip technologies. Industry heavyweights TSMC, Samsung, and Intel — the world’s three largest semiconductor manufacturing companies — as well as other stakeholders such as AMD, Qualcomm, ARM, Google, Meta, and Microsoft are forming a consortium to jointly work on an industry standard for advanced chip packaging and stacking.
The new standard is dubbed Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe), Nikkei Asia reports. It is an advanced ecosystem with a complete “die-to-die interconnect standard” that will make it easier for chipmakers to mix and match chip components (die is an individual chip before packaging). This will allow companies to build custom SoCs (systems-on-a-chip) using parts and components from different vendors.
Semiconductor industry heavyweights are jointly working on advanced chip technologies
The semiconductor industry is dealing with an unprecedented component shortage globally. This has affected several other peripheral industries, including smartphones and automobiles. Semiconductor biggies such as TSMC, Samsung, and Intel have already started work on increasing their chip production. These efforts should help mitigate such component shortages in the future.
But as electronic devices become more powerful, there’s also a growing need for advancements in semiconductor technologies. And it appears chip packaging and stacking is one of the key areas where the industry is now focusing on.
Packaging and stacking are the last steps in the semiconductor manufacturing process. After that, chips are “mounted onto print circuit boards and assembled into electronic devices”. The sizes of these semiconductors have shrunk significantly over the past few years. We are now talking about just a few nanometers.
As such, companies are now finding it difficult to fit more transistors onto a chip — the higher the number of transistors, the greater is the computing power. Many are speculating that it’s now the end of Moore’s law, a hypothesis by Gordon Moore that states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years.
To that end, semiconductor heavyweights are exploring ways to stack more transistors on a tiny chip. And several of them are now joining forces to develop advanced packaging and stacking technologies that will allow different types of chip combinations — called chiplets — in one package.
According to the new report, the newly formed consortium is open to welcoming more companies onboard. The likes of Apple and Huawei could join the consortium in the future. They are among the biggest stakeholders of the semiconductor industry and have not confirmed their participation yet.