Intel, others slow migration to 450mm chip wafers

|By:, SA News Editor

Lithography equipment giant ASML has "paused" the development of hardware meant to work with next-gen 450mm wafers, which offer 125% more wafer space (and thus better economies of scale) than current-gen 300mm wafers. Likewise, Applied Materials (AMAT) CEO Gary Dickerson says the 450mm migration "has definitely been pushed out from a timing standpoint."

Due to ASML's move, Intel (INTC), which agreed in 2012 to pour $4.1B into the company to help finance investments in 450mm wafers and EUV lithography, has "adjusted" the pace of its payments to ASML.

Last year, Intel began constructing a $2B Oregon development fab meant to be its first 450mm facility. But it's reevaluating its timetable amid soft PC demand and concerns about its share of the bill. Spokesman Chuck Mulloy: "We still believe 450 is the right thing to do ... But we have been clear: we will not do it ourselves."

EUV, considered necessary to maintain Moore's Law long-term, has also seen delays. ASML CEO Peter Wennink recently predicted EUV will reach the stability levels required by chip manufacturers by the 2H16 or 2017.

Other chip equipment makers: KLAC, LRCX, RTEC, NVMI, UTEK, TOELF