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450mm, EUV, TSVs suffer further delays

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:450mm delay? IC manufacturing? EUV? TSV?

IC Insights sees more delays for two emerging and key IC manufacturing technologies: 450mm and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

450mm production fabs could be pushed out to 2015 or 2016or two years later than some had hoped, according to analysts. And EUV may miss the insertion into the 16nm node, thereby pushing the technology out to the 13nm logic node in 2015, analysts said.

And another technology, 3D devices based on thru-silicon vias (TSVs), is still in the embryonic stages and "overhyped," said Trevor "Yancey, an analyst with IC Insights. There is a lot of hype about TSVs for 3D devices, but there are still issues about the substrates, testing and costs, he said.

Some think TSVs will take longer to ramp for mainstream applications. In other words, three enablers that can help pave the way for Moore's Law450mm, EUV and TSVsare still more talk than reality.

It is no surprise that the 450mm transition could be delayed. "The recession put 450mm on the backburner," said Bill McClean, president of IC Insights, at an event here.

As reported, Intel, TSMC and Samsung are separately pushing for the advent of 450mm "prototype" fabs by 2012. The companies are looking for 450mm "demonstration" tools at the 32nm node and "pilot tools" at 22nm. Some believe 450mm fabs will never happen, saying the R&D costs are too expensive. No one is sure who will pay for the tools or the R&D.

At SEMI's Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS), there are rumors that 450mm has been pushed out, in which the pilot tools won't be ready until the 15nm node. The recession, coupled by lackluster support from the tool vendors, could be among the reasons for possible delays, some have speculated.

450mm production fabs will not appear before 2014, Yancey said. A more likely scenario will be the advent of 450mm production fabs in the "2015 or 2016" time frame, he said.

Yancey also believes that EUV for production fabs could miss its new target date, which is the 16nm logic node in 2013. There is a possibility that EUV may support second-generation, 16nm devices, but "it looks more and more like that won't happen," he said.

A more likely scenario will be the advent of EUV for production fabs for the 13nm logic node in 2015, he said. As previously reported, there are still issues with the power sources, photoresists and masks.

Following warning shots from Intel Corp., Sematech recently sounded the alarm bellsagain. The chip-making consortium recently warned that there is still a major funding shortfall and a lack of mask inspection gear to enable EUV lithography. Samsung also sounded the alarm as well.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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