The 10-nm process node appears to be the ideal point for the adoption of manufacturing on 450-mm diameter wafers, according Leonard Hobbs, head of research for Intel Ireland. Speaking at the Industry Strategy Symposium here (ISS Europe) he also indicated that the transition could not come sooner and could be pushed later, depending on the efficacy of industry collaboration. Hobbs portrayed the transition taking place 2015 to 2017
In Europe Intel participates in the EEMI-450 research program and has announced plans to invest $500 million in the refitting of Fab 14, a mothballed shell in Intel’s manufacturing campus in Leixlip near Dublin, Ireland, Hobbs said.
Hobbs also pointed out that two fab building projects have been announced in the United States that will be “450-mm compatible.” When asked what that meant he said: “Size could be significant, room height and weight-bearing capacity of the floor.”
With Intel due to start production of chips at 22-nm in 2011, the 10-nm is only two further nodes away. And according to Hobbs, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is not expected much before 450-mm wafers.
Hobbs was asked when EUV lithography would arrive, to which he responded: “The question is if we see EUV kicking in. It is hugely expensive. It’s one or two generations away yet.”