“A potential win-win might be to steal a trick from history to see if 300mm wafers can’t be stretched to still fit existing tooling but gain a potentially ‘free’ area advantage,” suggested Penn, “just as we so successfully did stretching two inch wafers to two and a quarter inches in the early 1970s. I was there when we did this at ITT Semiconductors and boy was it simple and did it make a difference!”
“It was very easy to do,” added Penn, ” there was no need to change anything except the size of the chuck and the result was more die at no more cost.”
The 450mm development programme has resulted in substantial improvements to 300mm manufacturing processes but the value of an actual move to 450mm is being questioned said Penn.
“Many are stating 450mm is not justified until at least 2020-25, if at all,” said Penn, “and for some products 450mm may not be technically or economically feasible. In fact the only product that makes definite economic sense on 450mm is 3D flash memory.”