Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SEMICON West buzz: Curtains up for 450mm wafers

July 10, 2012 -- In the pre-show conferences and press releases leading up to SEMICON West, 450mm wafer development is getting a lot of attention.

Research organization imec received a major government investment to build a 450mm cleanroom. I spoke with imec president and CEO Luc Van den hove about the 450mm announcement.

ASML launched a program wherein customers can buy minority stakes in the tool maker, which will fund EUV lithography and 450mm development. Intel is the first taker with a 15% share in ASML.

KLA-Tencor installed its first process control systems for handling and inspecting unpatterned 450mm wafers, the automated Surfscan SP3 450 defect and surface quality characterization tool. KLA-Tencor says it has received multiple orders for its SP3 450mm-capable tool and shipped several systems (imec is using one).

CyberOptics came out with a 450mm version of its WaferSense Auto Vibration System, AVS450. The product is a wireless wafer-life vibration monitoring device that travels through the entire path of a wafer to measure vibrations of wafer transfers in x, y and z dimensions during semiconductor processes and fabrications and report real-time acceleration data in three axes for engineers to identify vibration anomalies during wafer processing.

This is just a sampling of what is sure to be a week filled with 450mm discussions. 450mm development has been waiting in the wings for a long time. If the pre-SEMICON West buzz is to be believed, now is its time to take center stage.

SEMICON West 2012, http://www.semiconwest.org/, opens in just a few hours in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. My first event will be today's keynote, "Ubiquitous Computing in the Coming Years--Technology Challenges and Opportunities" by Intel's Shekhar Y. Borkar. See you there!

Stay on top of all the news and new product announcements from the show with our SEMICON West Channel, http://www.electroiq.com/semicon_west_2012.html

--Meredith Courtemanche, digital media editor, meredithc@pennwell.com

Twitter: @solid_statetech

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