These are the wafers, sliced from a synthetic crystal, from which integrated circuits are made. They are sized by their diameter. Two inch, 100 mm, 125 mm, 150 mm and 200 mm wafers are all currently available commercially, in addition to the 300-mm wafers from which microprocessors are usually made. In commercial scale production of microprocessors the area of the wafer has roughly doubled every decade, an interval which relates to the length of time needed to amortize the huge amount of costly, size-specific equipment needed to make devices from wafers, and to design a new generation of equipment. (A single fab costs more than a billion dollars.)
|Nominal diameter of wafer,
|Date of commercial
commercial fabs, 2001
commercial fabs, 1991
(note transition in U.S. to metric)
1. Press release by Intel and Samsung, May 5, 2008. www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/20080505corp.htm However, 450 mm fabs were in existence in Taiwan in 2005.
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Last revised: 16 May 2008.