ASML, the world’s largest maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, said this week that it is on track to deliver prototype versions of its 450mm equipment by 2015. The company believes that its partners, such as Intel Corp. Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are on-track to start commercial 450mm production in 2018.
“Supported by our customer co-investment program, we have completed the concepts of our 450mm architecture for use in EUV and immersion versions, so as to deliver prototypes by 2015, compatible for a 2018 production ramp, if confirmed by the industry in time,” a statement by ASML reads.
At the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) earlier this yea Intel demonstrated a 450mm wafer that is fully patterned for the first time. This wafer was created after intense collaboration which was necessary between Intel and various suppliers, three of whom are Sumco, Dainippon Printing and Molecular Imprints, according to Intel.
Intel also plans to start building its first semiconductor facility that will process 450mm wafers this year. The company has assigned $2 billion to expand its D1X fab in Hillsboro, Oregon with dedicated 450mm module 2 (D1X module 2) and is looking forward to have the construction ready for equipment by 2015. Intel is currently equipping its D1X development fab to process 300mm wafers using 14nm manufacturing technology and expects to initiate production this year. While the D1X module 1 facility is 450mm-capable, it will come online as a 300mm fab.
The transition from one wafer size to the next has historically delivered a 30% to 40% increase of the usable wafer area and therefore a similar reduction reduction in die cost. The shift from today's standard 300mm wafers to larger 450mm wafers are expected offer similar benefits. As a result, in a bid to produce chips using advance process technologies and extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) cost-efficiently, semiconductor manufacturers will have to adopt 450mm wafers.