16 September 1994 Vigorous capital and development investments required: playing in the semiconductor manufacturing industry endgame
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Abstract
The semiconductor integrated circuit industry has maintained a steady productivity improvement (cost per function) of two orders of magnitude per decade since its inception. The primal productivity driver has been the continual advances in optical lithography, enabling feature size decreases with concomitant increases in circuit density. The use of multi-level interconnect also drives increases in circuit density. The use of larger diameter wafers exploits economies of scale. Implementation of ultra-clean materials and processing environments, in part made essential by the ever finer feature sizes, leads to high circuit yields. Process control allows high parametric yield, while factory level control is essential for efficient use of the capital. Thus integrated circuit fabrication facilities have evolved from relatively simple low cost operations to extraordinarily large and complex factories costing in excess of $1B. Surprisingly, the cost of processed silicon for typical process flows has remained relatively constant at $3 to $5 persquare centimeter for large volume manufacturers. The catch is, of course, is that the term "large volume" is growing at a pace that makes it more and more difficult for individual companies to finance new facilities by themselves.
© (1994) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Stephen Knight, Stephen Knight, } "Vigorous capital and development investments required: playing in the semiconductor manufacturing industry endgame", Proc. SPIE 2336, Manufacturing Process Control for Microelectronic Devices and Circuits, (16 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.186800; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.186800
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