GOYANG, South Korea – LG Siltron Inc., South Korea’s sole silicon wafer maker, is quietly developing 450-mm substrates in preparation for a possible migration in the arena.
At an electronics show in Goyang, near Seoul, LG Siltron was showing the process in developing a 450-mm wafer. 450-mm is supposed to be the next wafer size after today’s 300-mm substrates.
LG Siltron’s 450-mm silicon wafer program is still ''under development,’’ said Kwang-Woon Lee, a manager for the company. The company has devised ''prototype'' 450-mm wafers, he said.
Formed in 1987, the company currently produces silicon wafers at diameters of 150-, 200- and 300-mm.
The standards for 450-mm have been hammered out. But there are still technical challenges in developing production-worthy 450-mm wafers, he said.
He did not provide a timetable for the completion of LG Siltron’s program. Much of this depends on the chip and fab tool makers. Intel, Samsung and TSMC are pushing for 450-mm fabs.
But the fab tool makers are reluctant to develop equipment for 450-mm. The costs and risk, they say, are too high.
G. Dan Hutchison, president of VLSI Research Inc., believes it will take some $500 million to $1 billion just to develop a 450-mm pilot line. At that rate, the 450-mm transition will take longer than expected, he said.
450-mm ''is dead until someone (comes up with) $500 million,’’ he said. ''Someone has to up the ante and build a fab.’’