TSMC on Monday said that some of the wafers it has processed recently have lower yields because of a chemical it uses during production. The company began investigation and is in talks with affected customers, thought to include NVIDIA and Huawei, regarding counteractive actions.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker indicated that photoresist chemical it used at its Fab 14B deviated from specifications, which caused wafers to have lower yields. Nikkei Asian Review reports that the factory supplies chips to various customers, including Huawei, NVIDIA, and MediaTek, but does not elaborate which chips and how significant is the yield drop.

TSMC hopes that the affected wafers will still be shipped in Q1, but some shipments will have to be delayed to Q2. The company is evaluating financial impact of the problem and is discussing remedial actions with its customers. In the meantime, TSMC does not expect its first quarter financial results to be significantly different than expected, so the problem may not be too serious.

Last year malware infected some of TSMC’s production tools and affected the company’s operations.

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Sources: Nikkei Asian ReviewTSE MOPS

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  • Mobile-Dom - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    Talking about how the largest independent chip manufacturer is having issues due to chemical deviations seems like Tech hardware to me, without the products from companies like TSMC, the "tech hardware" you speak of would be rather limited.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Yeah, WTF? This is definitely more relevant than news about the companies' quarterly reports (although I'm not complaining about those articles, either).
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    I am a bit struck by the reason TSMC gives (below-spec photoresist chemical or chemicals). These chemicals are absolute essentials for any fabs photolithography. So, has TSMC gone a bit lackadaisical in the QC of its supplies, especially those that are mission-critical like this? With the entire output of a multi-billion $$$ fab depending on the purity of the chemicals used, standard operating procedure would be to QC each batch of chemical just before it's used, likely by in-line HPLC-MS or GC-MS. I am wondering if the pressure on TSMC to "make rent" on its enormous investment into 7 nm has led to risk-taking in form of laxer QC, which then leads to problems such as this one.
  • eddman - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    If ddriver was still around, this is what he'd write: "There is no doubt Intel and/or the US government sent ninjas to sabotage TSMC."
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    You might enjoy this (ddriver on ddriver):

  • eddman - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    He's still doing it then. I never enjoyed his drivel and glad he's gone. Such a pathetic individual. Always writing as if he's the master and the authority on every single topic, claiming superior knowledge and information, be it electronics, politics, psychology, etc. without providing a shred of evidence, calling others arrogant and yet couldn't take it when someone challenged him.

    He has an illogical personal vendetta against some companies, which is downright childish, but whenever someone pointed it out and suggested to tone it down a bit, he'd get hostile in his passive, aggressive way, call that person "cattle" and then proceed with insults that he claimed to be "sarcasm".
  • Manch - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Nvidia says no prob, we will sell these as 1160/50's LOL
  • Achtung_BG - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    TSMC fab14b produces 16/12 nm. defective are between 10k and 30k wafers.

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