Hsinchu, Taiwan: Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics, and TSMC have reached agreement on the need for industry-wide collaboration to transition to larger, 450mm wafers starting in 2012.
In their view, transitioning to larger wafers will enable continued growth of the semiconductor industry, and it helps maintain a reasonable cost structure for future integrated-circuit manufacturing and applications. The companies will cooperate with the semiconductor industry to help ensure that all of the required components, infrastructure, and capability are developed and tested for a pilot line by this target date.
Historically, manufacturing with larger wafers helps increase the ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost. The total silicon surface area of a 450mm wafer and the number of printed die (individual computer chips, for example) is more than twice that of a 300mm wafer.
In the past, migration to the next larger wafer size traditionally began every 10 years after the last transition. For example, the industry began the transition to 300mm wafers in 2001, a decade after the initial 200mm fabs were introduced in 1991. Keeping in line with the historical pace of growth, Intel, Samsung, and TSMC agree that 2012 is an appropriate target date to begin the 450mm transition.