Intel's 22 nm chips are coming out next year. It is almost certainly too late to do anything about 15 nm now. In two-three years, 11 nm node process needs to be frozen by Intel. I don't think any wafer size change or EUV lithography will happen during that time. It is just too soon. They would rather focus on changing the transistor from planar to 3D.
Intel does not fully invest in America. None of it's Etch tools come from the US. This is in spite of the fact that LAM, based 5 miles or so from Intel's HQ is the market leader in Etch. It's really kind of sad for them because they miss out on the great collaborative nature that Intel's think films groups have with the US based tool manufacturers. To truly invest in America, Intel needs to invest in it's American partnerships and that means seriously considering dumping some money on American made and supported Etch tools. It will create more jobs in the US than just building another high tech sweat shop for Ph.D.s.
With Intel pushing 450-mm the way they are, it seems like a no brainer that this facility will be built to accommodate 450-mm. Considering how soon Intel would like 450-mm to be ready, it would seem short sighted not the build the development fab to accommodate it. Of course 450 won't be ready when Intel wants it. But Intel needs to walk the walk. I wouldn't be surprised to see them make some public statements about this facility being 450-ready as a way to draw a line in the sand, so to speak. I was actually kind of surprised that they didn't state this in the announcement.
It is a bold initiative for Intel to invest in America. That is how the future of the nation will be secured. It is necessary and should be commended by all. One hopes they have the right roadmap for the litho business.
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