4/6/2014 9:37:33 AM

Daily Gazette: CHANGING CHIPS: Nano consortium moving to 450-mm wafers

Daily Gazette

ALBANY — By next year, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany will be able to provide the tech companies the resources they need to transform the way they manufacture computer chips.

The college’s Global 450 Consortium, housed within the NanoFab Xtension building, has received a majority of the tools needed for companies to work on the next generation of computer chip production.

The nanocollege has 43 tools, worth more than $350 million, that GlobalFoundries, IBM, Intel, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will use to research the process of building chips on larger platforms.

Computer chips are etched on silicon wafers. The current industry standard is 300 mm wafers, which are nearly 12 inches in diameter. But the five companies are looking to move to 450 mm wafers that are 18 inches in diameter.

The larger 450 mm wafers will allow manufacturers to build more computer chips on each. The ultimate goal is to transition the whole industry to 450 mm wafers, which is expected to boost production and efficiency and to drive down costs.

“This is a collaborative program, we have assignees from five member companies plus CNSE,” said Paul Farrar, general manager of the consortium. “Obviously this will be a tremendous resource for the industry, for the companies as well as the equipment suppliers. Similar to what we do today with 300 mm, we have worked with many equipment suppliers and their partners on development.”

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