The first semiconductor wafers produced by Fujitsu and Toshiba using a next-generation technology have begun rolling off trial production lines at factories in and near Tokyo.
Fujitsu showed some trial wafers at a company event held and confirmed they are produced using a 65-nanometre production technology on a trial line at its Akiruno Technology Centre in western Tokyo. Its 65-nanometre technology is still in the development stage and has not yet reached the level where Fujitsu can evaluate chips built using the technology or supply samples to customers, according to a company spokesperson.
Toshiba was slightly further along in the development of the technology and was currently evaluating early 65-nanometre samples, a company spokesperson said.
It is using a pilot line at a facility in Yokohama to produce the chips.
One of the first uses for Toshiba’s technology will be the production of the Cell processor, which will be used in Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 3 games console and future consumer products from other companies. In this area, Toshiba is working with Sony and IBM on technology development. Mass production is scheduled for the first half of 2005.
Today’s most advanced semiconductors are produced using a 90-nanometre process. The measurement refers to the size of the smallest track or gap width that can be made on the chip’s surface.
A smaller number means semiconductors can be made physically smaller, because everything can be made to take up less space, or made more powerful, because more can be crammed into a given space. For this reason, progress in manufacturing technology is a vital part of realising faster, smaller and cheaper chips and ultimately the products in which they are used.