Thought for the month

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” Bernard Williams, British philosopher (1929 – 2003).

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Towards 450-mm - just another 50% in diameter ...

Within the silicon IC industry momentum is building for the transition to 450-mm wafers from 300-mm wafers, although current thinking is that only the leading-edge chip companies will initially make the move with the first fabs generating products in 2017. The concern has always been the huge cumulative costs of the R&D required to develop a full suite of 450-mm IC production equipment and tools. Estimates of $15bn - £20bn have been made. Last month progress was made with the announcement that Intel and ASML have entered into agreements intended to accelerate the development of 450-mm wafer technology and extreme ultra-violet lithography. The investments including R&D and product developments will total approximately $4.1 billion. The objective is to shorten the schedule for deploying the lithography equipment supporting 450-mm technologies by as much as two years.

This month also saw KLA Tencor announce that their Surfscan wafer defect inspection tool is capable of handling and inspecting 450-mm wafers.

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