Table of Contents
A semiconductor foundry capable of processing 450mm wafers offers a tremendous economy of scale versus facilities working with smaller-diameter wafers, albeit with large startup costs required for the needed wafer-handling equipment. The larger wafers yield more semiconductor die, assuming that good material quality can be maintained across the surface of the larger wafers. As a rough approximation, only about one-half the wafer starts are required for a 450mm wafer facility compared to a 300mm wafer facility to produce the same number of die.
ASML, one of the major equipment suppliers to chip factories, recently decided to stop trying to develop a new generation of machines that could handle 450mm wafers. No one is definitively ruling out 450mm, but even Intel agrees that it is on hold until the end of the decade. TSMC is not as vocal as Intel, but the Taiwan foundry giant is still interested in 450mm, as well. Still others believe 450mm fabs could get pushed out to the 2020 to 2025 timeframe. Now that work is on hold, along with the Intel investment in ASML’s 450mm program.
Equipment makers need a timely decision in order to move forward with their 450mm tool R&D efforts. This report addresses the timeline of 450mm acceptance based on the different requirements of logic versus memory chips. It also focused on the markets for copper interconnect and low-k dielectric deposition equipment and forecasts.
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