The widespread use of microelectronics requires an increase in the number of integrated schemes produced by different manufacturers, as well as a decrease in the average price of chips. In the coming years, different manufacturers of microcircuits will launch almost two dozen factories for their production. Nevertheless, in fact, all new production complexes will continue to use 300 mm siliceous substrates, while the 450 mm plates will remain exotic even by the end of the decade.
At the beginning of 2013, Intel’s corporation demonstrated the world’s first completely processed 450-mm substrates, and in mid-2013 they began to build FAB D1X module 2, the world’s first factory ready to install equipment that processes the substrates of increased diameter. As expected at the beginning of the decade, 450-mm factories will begin work in 2015–2017, however, at the end of 2013, ASML, the world leader in the production of photolithographic equipment, actually suspended 450-mm investments of production tools due to uncertainty with demand from chickens manufacturers.
Officially the three largest manufacturers of integrated schemes in the world — Intel, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manoufactoring Co. — did not abandon plans to use 450 mm Silicon Fronties. Nevertheless, according to IC Insights, one of the most informed analysts in the market for the production of semiconductors, in the coming years the company will be focused mainly on maximizing production at 300 mm factories, and not on the construction of 450 mm production facilities.
According to IC Insights, at the end of 2014 87 factories worked in the world, processing 300 mm siliceous plates. By the end of 2019, the number of 300 mm production complexes will increase to 110. Similar factories are used as manufacturers of complex microcircuits with companies like Intel, Globalfoundries and TSMC, and memory, companies like Micron Technology, Samsung, SK Hynix and Toshiba/Sandisk.
In addition, fully deported factories operating with 200 mm plates will continue to be used to produce a number of devices, such as display drivers, specialized memorable devices, microcontrollers, analogue devices, etc. P. Thus, 200-mm and even 150-mm factories will continue to exist, although their number can be slightly reduced in the coming years. TSMC, Texas Instruments and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) are the largest operators of 200 mm production capacities.
Silicon plates with a diameter of 450 mm can potentially reduce the cost of production of microcircuits by 20 %. However, some analysts believe that the real reduction in the cost of the chip will be lower, which reduces the attractiveness of new substrates and factories for manufacturers. According to IC Insights, by the end of 2019, only 0.2 % of the production capacities of semiconductors will use 450 mm plate.
The development efforts of 450 mm equipment will continue, but the rate of development slowed down in 2014. Apparently, mass production on substrates with a diameter of 450 mm will begin in 2020 or even later, although experimental production may begin in 2018–2019. Such forecasts are consistent with the position of Intel, which last year announced the delay in the beginning of the use of 450 mm plates for several years.
Given the indefinite situation with the demand for microcircuits and giant factories for factories, working with substrates with a diameter of 450 mm, the cautious approach of Intel, TSMC and Samsung to the transition to new plates is clear. Difficulties using EUV photolitography, which will also hardly become mass before the end of the decade, play a non-such role in such delays.
- IC Insight