450mm report: Standards, AMHS, platforms getting ready
In its closed-door session during SEMICON West, the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) presented an update on the steps it is taking this year to provide the needed infrastructure, and momentum, to enable an eventual transition to the 450mm wafer size—from readiness of silicon, processes, and equipment, to factory integration issues, test wafer generation, and equipment testing methodologies. SST got a few snippets from these meetings, courtesy of Tom Jefferson, ISMI's 450mm program manager:
• Test wafer development has started for multiple process and metrology equipment. ISMI is soliciting proposals for 450mm equipment for test wafer generation and demonstration.
• Silicon suppliers are in position to provide additional quantities of 450mm wafers, with "improved quality."
• Standards are completed for 450mm FOUPs and loadports, and 450mm mechanical and developmental-grade wafers.
• Automated mechanical handling systems (AMHS) prototype pilot lines are currently under evaluation.
• Equipment platforms are becoming available; strategy for equipment demonstration testing are defined.
ISMI continues to drive activities required to enable the needs of its members to realize a cost-effective 450mm transition—and 450mm readiness continues to accelerate and gain momentum "in all segments of the supply chain," notes Jefferson. Key challenges and goals include creating a comprehensive 450mm infrastructure at advanced technology nodes; and continued "constructive discussion" with companies who want to contribute toward the consortia's 450mm transition goals. — J.M.