10 nanometer

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In semiconductor fabrication, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) defines the 10 nanometer (10 nm) node as the technology node following the 14 nm node. "10 nm class" denotes chips made using process technologies between 10 and 20 nanometers.

All production "10 nm" processes are based on silicon CMOS finFET technology. Samsung first started their production of "10 nm" chips in 2016; with product shipments following through in 2017 in the form of Galaxy S8.


The ITRS's original naming of this technology node was "11 nm". According to the 2007 edition of the roadmap, by the year 2022, the half-pitch (i.e., half the distance between identical features in an array) for a DRAM should be 11 nm.

In 2008, Pat Gelsinger, at the time serving as Intel's Chief Technology Officer, said that Intel saw a 'clear way' towards the 10 nm node.[1][2]

In actuality, "10 nm" as it is generally understood in 2018 is only in high-volume production at Samsung. GlobalFoundries has skipped 10 nm, Intel has not yet started high-volume 10 nm production, due to yield issues, and TSMC has considered 10 nm to be a short-lived node,[3] mainly dedicated to processors for Apple during 2017–2018, moving on to 7 nm in 2018.

There is also a distinction to be made between 10 nm as marketed by foundries and 10 nm as marketed by DRAM companies.

Technology production history[edit]

On 17 October 2016, Samsung Electronics announced mass production at 10 nm.[4] The technology's main announced challenge has been triple patterning for its metal layer.[5][6]

On 21 April 2017, Samsung started shipping their Galaxy S8 smartphone which uses the company's version of the 10 nm processor.[7]

On 12 June 2017, Apple delivered second-generation iPad Pro tablets powered with TSMC-produced Apple A10X chips using the 10 nm FinFET process.[8]

On September 12, 2017, Apple announced the Apple A11, a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip, manufactured by TSMC using a 10 nm FinFET process and containing 4.3 billion transistors on a die of 87.66 mm2.

In April 2018, Intel announced a delay in volume production of 10 nm mainstream CPUs until sometime in 2019.[9] In July the exact time was further pinned down to the holiday season.[10] In the meantime, however, they did release a low-power 10 nm mobile chip, albeit exclusive to Chinese markets.[11]

10 nm process nodes[edit]


ITRS Logic Device

Ground Rules



TSMC Samsung ITRS Logic Device

Ground Rules

Process name 11/10 nm 10 nm
10 nm 10 nm 16/14 nm
Transistor density (MTr / mm²) N/A 100.8[13] Unknown Unknown N/A
Transistor Gate Pitch (nm) 48 54 66 68 70
Interconnect pitch (nm) 36 36 44 51 56
Transistor Fin Pitch (nm) 36 34 36 42 42
Transistor Fin Height (nm) 42 53 Unknown 49 42
  1. ^ Measurements of the process used for Cannon Lake in 2018. It is unclear whether these will be the same for Ice Lake in 2020.[12]

Transistor gate pitch is also referred to as CPP (contacted poly pitch) and interconnect pitch is also referred to as MMP (minimum metal pitch). Samsung reported their 10 nm process as having a 64 nm transistor gate pitch and 48 nm interconnect pitch. TSMC reported their 10 nm process as having a 64 nm transistor gate pitch and 42 nm interconnect pitch. Further investigation by Tech Insights revealed these values to be false and they have been updated accordingly. In addition, the transistor fin height of Samsung's 10 nm process was updated by MSSCORPS CO at SEMICON Taiwan 2017.[14][15][16][17][18]


For the DRAM industry, the "10 nm" node is often referred to as "10 nm-class" and this dimension generally refers to the half-pitch of the active area. The "10 nm" foundry structures are generally much larger. Samsung is also the most prominent player for 10 nm-class DRAM.[19]


  1. ^ Damon Poeter. "Intel's Gelsinger Sees Clear Path To 10nm Chips". Archived from the original on 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  2. ^ "MIT: Optical lithography good to 12 nanometers". Archived from the original on 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  3. ^ 10nm rollout
  4. ^ Samsung Starts Industry’s First Mass Production of System-on-Chip with 10-Nanometer FinFET Technology, Oct 2016
  5. ^ Samsung 10nm announcement
  6. ^ triple patterning for 10nm metal]
  7. ^ http://www.samsung.com/us/explore/galaxy-s8/buy/
  8. ^ techinsights.com. "10nm Rollout Marching Right Along". www.techinsights.com. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  9. ^ "Intel Corp. Delays 10nm Chip Production - Mass production is now scheduled for 2019". 2018-04-29. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  10. ^ "Intel says not to expect mainstream 10nm chips until 2H19". 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  11. ^ "Intel's First 10nm Processor Lands In China". 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  12. ^ Demerjian, Charlie (2018-08-02). "Intel guts 10nm to get it out the door". SemiAccurate. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Intel 10nm density is 2.7X improved over its 14nm node". HEXUS. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  14. ^ "Intel Details Cannonlake's Advanced 10nm FinFET Node, Claims Full Generation Lead Over Rivals".
  15. ^ "International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors 2.0 2015 Edition Executive Report" (PDF).
  16. ^ "14nm 16nm 10nm and 7nm - What we know now".
  17. ^ "Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 First to 10 nm". Samsung 10LPE process
  18. ^ "10 nm lithography process". wikichip.
  19. ^ Samsung 10nm-class LPDDR4X

Preceded by
14 nm
CMOS manufacturing processes Succeeded by
7 nm