Nikon Corp. has received an order from Intel Corp. for a next-generation stepper capable of creating circuit patterns on 450mm silicon wafers.
It is to supply a prototype to Intel in 2015 for roughly 6 billion yen (US$63.16 M). This price tag is about 30% higher than that for current steppers, which are designed to handle silicon wafers 300mm in diameter. But increasing the diameter 50% to 450mm is expected to enable Intel to halve the cost of making the most sophisticated chips. Nikon is expected to supply mass- production versions of the stepper in around 2017, with total shipments forecast to reach tens of billions of yen.