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http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquir...er-coming-2012

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THE BIG CHIP FIRMS are readying themselves for the transition to bigger 450 mm wafers by 2012, with Intel, TSMC and Samsung Electronics announcing today that they have reached an agreement on industry-wide collaboration on the project.

The chip giants reckon that the bigger wafers will boost the growth of the semiconductor industry, while keeping circuit manufacturing costs at a reasonable level.

The companies agreed that they would work together and cooperate with the semiconductor industry as a whole, to make sure that the infrastructure, necessary components and capabilities were all in place in order to start testing out the new wafers in just four years time.

The total silicon surface area of a 450 mm wafer is 2.25 times the area of a 300mm wafer, which means that semiconductors could feasibly be produced at lower costs, which ultimately would lower the entire production cost per chip.

The bigger wafers would also mean using less energy and water, and a reduction in air pollution and toxic gas emissions, as the fewer wafers there are to handle, the less waste is produced. The new fabs, however, could cost three times as much as the current ones to build.

But Chipzilla, Samsung and TSMC reckon that the semiconductor industry can make good on the investment, significantly lowering the cost of R&D for the 450mm wafer by using aligned standards, rationalising changes from 300mm infrastructure and automation, and working toward a common timeline.

Cheong-Woo Byun, senior vice president of memory manufacturing for Samsung said in a press release that "the transition to 450mm wafers will benefit the entire ecosystem of the IC industry".

The three companies also said that they would continue to work with International Sematech (ISMI), which coordinates industry efforts on 450mm wafer supply, standards setting and developing equipment test-bed capabilities. µ
MMMmmmmmm... 450mm wafers.... One of those will look great hanging from my wall! Imagine how many Atom dies can be made on one of these gigantic wafers....
    
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