Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has developed a new chip making technique designed to extend the life of current factory equipment.
The company revealed on Wednesday its own proprietary technique to reduce defects for mass chip production. This technique called immersion lithography uses water or another clear liquid to sharpen the image of a chip's blueprint, which is imprinted onto a silicon wafer, the round, flat discs from which chips are made. Chips are created by fine tuning the process.
The company said its test wafers made through immersion lithography, have come out with as few as three defects per wafer.
The use of liquid as a medium in lithography creates, according to TSMC, a number of challenges for chip manufacturers, including defects such as bubbles, watermarks, particles, particle-induced printing defects and resist residue.
Immersion is also said to extend the life of current-generation lithography machines, used to imprint the blueprint of a chip onto the silicon wafer.
J.H. Tzeng, a spokesman for TSMC, announced that TSMC will begin manufacturing chips with feature sizes as tiny as 45-nanometers using immersion lithography, most likely in a few years.
TSMC has also recently revealed five customers for its 65-nanometer technology chips including Broadcom, Freescale Semiconductor, and Altera, which are all based in the U.S.