Litho The Show-Stopper For 450mm

The biggest challenge for 450mm wafer production is lithography, say Dr C S Yoo, director of TSMC’s 450mm programme and Dr John Lin, general manager of the G450C consortium.

The rationale for going to 450mm is, says Yoo, the fact that increasing node complexity means there will be diminishing returns from process miniaturisation alone.

This is the reason the industry began studying 450mm wafers.

The goal is to have 450mm production by 2018, says Yoo, but the biggest problem is whether the industry, or rather ASSML, can produce a 10nm lithographic tool by 2015.

Other problems are: rationalising equipment costs to make return on investments predictable, realising significant improvements in productivity, and developing automated unmanned foundry operations, smart equipment, and green foundries.

Dr. John Lin, general manager of the G450C consortium for developing 450mm technology, says the goal of G450C is to begin demonstrating 14nm technology this year and put 10nm into pilot production between 2015 and 2016.

Most of the production machinery should complete the prototype phase by 2014.

The preliminary lithography prototype will probably be completed in 2016 and be ready for mass production by 2018.

The CNSE cleanroom is expected to be ready by December 2012; it will be the first 450mm foundry in the world.

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