A New Paradigm for Moore’s Law
Intel set the pace for computing innovation in the PC era with Moore’s Law. As data grows exponentially, so does the need for powerful chips to move, store, and process data across a distributed landscape.
Moore’s Law is as important as ever, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Intel is powering the data-centric era with synchronized and co-architected advances in transistors, packaging, and chip design. No other company has our fab foundation, in-house research and development capabilities, innovation pipeline, and integrated device manufacturer advantage—a unique set of complementary capabilities that will redefine what’s possible in computing.
Transistors: Performance Leaps
A microprocessor may be the most complex manufactured product made by humans. Producing it takes hundreds of steps in the world’s cleanest environment, carried out by skilled experts who are meticulously trained to move atoms and molecules.
Each microprocessor is made up of billions of tiny electrical switches called transistors. As transistors grow smaller, computing devices become smarter, faster, and more efficient. But shrinking transistors is no longer enough to deliver leaps in performance. Radical design improvements are also needed.
Smaller and Faster with 3D Transistors
With our leadership in manufacturing the fin-shaped field-effect transistor (FinFET), Intel raised the 2D transistor channel into the third dimension, greatly improving control of electrons flowing through the channel. These transistors operate at a lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency. As a result, transistors are smaller, faster, and use less power than ever before. We have been continuously refining the FinFET since its introduction nearly a decade ago. We introduced our third iteration of FinFET transistors at the 10nm node, continuing our journey of refining this technology with key innovations such as Contact Over Active Gate (COAG), which moved beyond the transistor device to the metal interconnects and ultimately the cell level.
Introducing PowerVia and RibbonFET
Redefining the FinFET
After years of refining the FinFET platform, we redefined it to deliver an unprecedented level of performance uplift with our new SuperFin technology.
SuperFin leverages a combination of innovations across the entire process stack, from the transistor channel to the top metal layers. A key breakthrough is a new Super MIM capacitor, which delivers a 5x increase in capacitance within the same footprint as industry standard approaches. This industry-first technology drives a voltage reduction that in combination with all of these innovations enabled nearly the equivalent performance of a full-node transition.
Today, we are continuing to evolve our roadmap to one that showcases new levels of innovation and moving to an accelerated pace to enable an annual cadence of process improvements.
With our new Intel 4 and Intel 3 technologies, we are fully embracing EUV lithography, which involves a highly complex optical system of lenses and mirrors that focuses a 13.5 nm wavelength of light to print incredibly small features on silicon. This is a vast improvement over prior technology that used light at a wavelength of 193nm.
And with Intel 20A, we are ushering in the angstrom era by introducing two new breakthrough technologies, PowerVia and RibbonFET. PowerVia is Intel’s unique, industry-first implementation of backside power delivery. RibbonFET, Intel’s implementation of a Gate All Around transistor, is the company’s first new transistor architecture since it pioneered FinFETs in 2011.
What’s in a Name?
Intel has realigned its process naming to provide a more accurate view of process nodes across the industry and to better reflect the balance of power-efficiency, performance, and area in future nodes. For decades, the process “node” name corresponded to the actual length of certain physical transistor features. While the industry departed from that practice many years ago, it has continued to use this historical pattern of assigning node names using decreasing numbers that evoke units of dimension, such as nanometers. Intel is refreshing its lexicon to create a clear and meaningful framework to help customers have a more accurate view of process nodes across the industry to make better-informed decisions.
Intel SuperFIN Technology
Packaging: A Catalyst for Product Innovation
As the physical interface between processor and motherboard, a chip’s packaging plays a critical role in product-level performance. Advanced packaging techniques will allow diverse computing engines to be integrated across multiple process technologies, enabling completely new approaches in system architecture.
As an integrated device manufacturer (IDM), Intel combines our powerful compute engines with leadership packaging to deliver unmatched product integration. Our complementary capabilities mean we can fully integrate our design, process, and packaging into products that are truly the best in their class. And with our portfolio of CPUs, FPGAs, accelerators, and graphics processing chips, our architects have the best flexibility to pick the right transistor for the product.
The transistor has evolved over many years and decades to become the foundation of all computing we depend on – in this amazing visualization, Intel shows how much innovation has gone into this important invention, and how far it has yet to go.
Six Pillars of Technology Innovation for the Next Era of Computing
Intel is innovating across six pillars of technology development to unleash the power of data for the industry and our customers.
Notices & Disclaimers
Learn more about Intel process technology innovation at www.intel.com/ProcessInnovation.
All product and service plans, roadmaps, and performance estimates are subject to change without notice. Projections about future node performance and other metrics are inherently uncertain.
This document contains forward-looking statements about Intel’s future plans or expectations, including its process and packaging technology roadmaps. These statements are based on current expectations and involve many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. For more information on the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, see our most recent earnings release and SEC filings at www.intc.com.
Intel® technologies' features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No product or component can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at intel.co.uk.
All information provided here is subject to change without notice.