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16 nm lithography process
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The 16 nanometer (16 nm) lithography process is a full node semiconductor manufacturing process following the 20 nm process stopgap. Commercial integrated circuit manufacturing using 16 nm process began in 2014. The term "16 nm" is simply a commercial name for a generation of a certain size and its technology, as opposed to gate length or half pitch. This technology is set to be replaced with 10 nm process in 2017.


An enhanced version of TSMC's 16nm process was introduced in late 2016 called "12nm".

Process Name
1st Production
Lithography Lithography
Wafer Type
Transistor Type
Fin Pitch
Gate Length (Lg)
Contacted Gate Pitch (CPP)
Minimum Metal Pitch (MMP)
SRAM bitcell High-Perf (HP)
High-Density (HD)
Low-Voltage (LV)
DRAM bitcell eDRAM
16nm FinFET
, 16FF+
16nm FinFET Plus
, 16FFC, 12FFC
12nm FinFET Compact
, 12FFN
3Q 2015
193 nm
300 mm
0.75 V
Value 20 nm Δ
48 nm N/A
37 nm
34 nm
90 nm 1x
64 nm 1x
0.074 µm² 0.86x


tsmc 16nm.jpg

TSMC uses the same BEOL as its 20nm process. They named their process 16 nm which reflects those relaxed pitches. TSMC demonstrated their 128 Mebibit SRAM wafer from their 16 nm HKMG FinFET process at the 2014 IEEE ISSCC. TSMC followed their 16FF process by the 16FF+ which provided roughly 10-15% performance improvement. A final 16FFC (16FF Compact) designed to reduce cost through less masks while using half the power.

In late 2016 TSMC announced a "12nm" process (e.g. 12FFC
12nm FinFET Compact Technology
) which uses the similar design rules as the 16nm node but a tighter metal pitch, providing a slight density improvement. The enhanced process is said to feature lower leakage better and cost characteristics and perhaps a better name (vs. "14nm"). 12nm is expected to enter mass production in late 2017.

16 nm Microprocessors[edit]

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16 nm Microarchitectures[edit]

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  • Chen, Yen-Huei, et al. "A 16 nm 128 Mb SRAM in High-κ Metal-Gate FinFET Technology With Write-Assist Circuitry for Low-VMIN Applications." IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits 50.1 (2015): 170-177.
  • Wu, Shien-Yang, et al. "A 16nm FinFET CMOS technology for mobile SoC and computing applications." Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), 2013 IEEE International. IEEE, 2013.
  • TechInsights/Chipworks, Kevin Gibb, The ConFab 2016