Much chatter and condemnation has gone Len Jelinek’s way since declaring the end of scaling for the majority of the industry when we reach the 18nm node in 2014. This is due to economics, not technical barriers - something that gets the 'Moore’s Law forever' folks all hot under the collar.
Though Moore’s Law will not be reduced to the history books just yet, we could be seeing the rise of a new law, Len’s Law.
This is actually quite simple and straightforward. Nodes such as 65nm through 22nm will become standard processes by product classification. Innovation and differentiation will be measured by process cost reductions and low-cost 3D packaging.
However, could 450mm wafers actually be a part of Len’s Law?
As economics begin to dictate, could the shift to 450mm give the cost reductions required for mature rather than leading-edge nodes? Could the cost of developing 450mm tools therefore be economical if the processing regimes were for mature technology?
Jelinek has already noted that any transition to 450mm wafers has probably been delayed by at least three to four years due to the current recession. iSuppli had estimated that initial pilot manufacturing would occur sometime in 2015 but with the current economic impact on equipment vendors and manufacturers, we would see 450mm adoption delayed until 2017 or even 2018.
How many companies are left at the bleeding-edge by 2018 if Len’s Law is correct? The sweet spot must surely be at the mature nodes for equipment suppliers by then!