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Industry not ready for 450mm, says Applied

Posted: 12 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mark LaPedus? Mike Splinter? Applied Materials? semiconductor equipment? 450mm?

Mike Splinter, president and chief executive of Applied Materials Inc., warned that the semiconductor equipment industry is not ready to move full speed ahead and develop next-generation, 450mm tools due to a funding shortfall in the overall business.

Splinter also warned that the funding shortfall for equipment R&D could reach $20 billion by 2012 if current technology and economic trends continue.

"This presents a problem with our industry," Splinter said in a keynote address at the Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) event on Tuesday (Jan. 10).

As a result of this shortfall, the semiconductor-equipment industry must focus and spend its R&D dollars more wisely, he said. The Applied executive suggested that the industry could spend its R&D dollars in three areas: improve the installed base; develop future technologies; and devise the next-generation 450mm wafer size.

Chip makers will eventually move into the 450mm domain, but the industry cannot afford to develop tools for the next-generation wafer size in the near term, he said. At least one company, Intel Corp., is urging the industry to migrate towards 450mm fabs in the 2012 to 2014 time frame.

"I think we should focus on other things than a wafer size conversion," he said. "We need to do it eventually. I don't think we currently need to do this."

Instead, the IC-equipment industry "should focus on high returns" with their respective R&D dollars, he said. The industry should be investing in several areas, including lithography productivity, systematic defect elimination, among others, he said.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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