Siemens first in 300mm IC race

Siemens first in 300mm IC race
David Manners Siemens will be the first semiconductor company in the world to manufacture chips on 300mm wafers. So said George Lee, director of the 300mm Initiative at SEMI, the semiconductor production equipment manufacturers’ trade body, at the Semicon Europa show. “Intel is back pedalling and IBM is not pushing production plans past the pilot line stage,” Lee told EW. “But don’t write off the Japanese.” Only five companies in the world are building 300mm pilot lines: Siemens/Motorola at Dresden, IBM at Yorktown, Intel in Oregon, Texas Instruments in Dallas and TSMC in Hsinchu. However, Lee only expects to see two pilot lines up and running this year: Siemens/ Motorola for one, and either Intel or IBM for the other. It is just possible, added Lee, that the Japanese 300mm consortium SELETE could get a pilot line up at the Hitachi site where equipment is being evaluated. A problem is the high degree of automation required for 300mm. “The FOUP [front opening unified pod] for transporting wafers carries 25 wafers weighing 17.5lbs and worth $2.5m – more than a home in Los Altos,” said Lee. “So you can’t have people carrying them – it all has to be done by automated delivery systems.” The prize is that you can get 2.5 times more die from a 300mm wafer than you can from a 200mm. That gives manufacturers the possibility of reducing the cost of a square centimetre of silicon by 30 per cent.


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