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July 26, 1994

SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY AGREES IN PRINCIPLE ON 12″ WAFER SIZE

By CBR Staff Writer

The Japanese initiative to move to a 16 wafer for chip fabrication (CI No 2,462) seems to have been squelched at birth. According to the Semiconductor Equipment & Materials International trade body, the global semiconductor industry agreed in principle late last week to settle on 12 as the standard size for future silicon wafers for high-volume chip-making. Representatives from the US, Japan and Europe met in San Francisco and also agreed to form task forces to define the steps needed to make the transition to the agreed size. Agreeing a single new size above the current 8 is important for the manufacturers of wafer processing equipment, which do not want to have to produce mask-making, photolithographic, steppers and other equipment to different sizes for different customers. Use of 12 wafers would enable fabricators to end up with many more chips from each wafer, but would cost more in wasted materials when an entire wafer was contaminated.

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