a wafer with circuits

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silicon wafers

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
450 2012 (proposed)¹
300 introduced, 1996;
commercial fabs, 2001
200 introduced, 1985;
commercial fabs, 1991
150 1981
125 1979
100 1975
3 inch 1973
2.25 inch 1970

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.


ASTM F1241

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