The microchip has taken over many tasks of our everyday life. As we forge through the iPad 2, smarter smart phones and advancements in robotics, we find ourselves consuming more and more chips, which in turn require more factory capacity to make the chips. More chip power can be achieved by building more factories, increasing transistor density per chip, or going to a larger number of chips per wafer, i.e. increasing the wafer size.
There are a number of pros and cons to jumping from the currently stable 300mm sized wafer to the unknown 450mm. But scaling up is nothing new – wafer diameters have increased steadily to meet capacity demands and keep pace with the needed economic benefit.
Interestingly, with this progressive advancement in wafer size, the need for ultrapure water (UPW) increases with the same speed: The bigger the wafer, the more UPW is needed in the factory. As Klaiber's Law sums it up: "The silicon wafer size will dictate the largest diameter of piping needed." This has held true since the introduction of 100mm wafers and therefore suggests the need for 450mm conduits to accommodate 450mm wafer production.