Intel Corporation's newest high-volume wafer fabrication facility has commenced production. Fab 24, a $2 billion facility, features 300 mm wafer manufacturing based on Intel's leading 90 nanometer (nm) process technology.
Fab 24 is the company's fourth 300 mm manufacturing facility, making Intel the world leader in 300 mm wafer manufacturing capacity and enabling the company to produce approximately 2.5 times more chips per wafer. Additionally, Fab 24 is Intel's third fab to manufacture semiconductors with circuitry of 90 nm (90 billionths of a meter) across. It would take about 1000 of these circuits to equal the thickness of a typical human hair.
"This new facility is the embodiment of Intel's commitment to high-volume, leading-edge manufacturing capacity," said Craig Barrett, Intel chief executive officer. "The combination of the capital efficiencies gained from 300 mm technology and the outstanding track record of our workforce makes this facility one of the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Intel's leadership in manufacturing technology enables us to meet the requirements of our worldwide customer base."
The larger 300 mm wafers enable lower production costs, reducing the costs per individual component by approximately 30 percent. Additionally, the new technology will use 40 percent less energy and water for each chip than previous generation technologies. The 90 nm process enables a doubling of transistor density on a given integrated chip of the same size. It is also the first in the industry to use a new process technology called "strained silicon" to speed up the transistors. The strained silicon is used to enhance performance. Conversely, it can be used to lower power if additional performance is not required.
Intel has manufactured semiconductors in Ireland since 1990. Other Intel 300 mm fabs are located in Hillsboro, Oregon (D1C and D1D) and Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Fab 11X).