San Francisco, CALIF. — Applied Materials Inc. is expected to announce a new piece of semiconductor-manufacturing equipment that it said will help chipmakers cut costs and make sure that chips carry current more reliably.
The equipment is the latest move by the No. 1 maker of chip-making-equipment’s latest to move into a new market, the company said. Applied Materials has long been aiming to provide every piece of equipment chipmakers need to churn out semiconductors, which are getting smaller, cheaper and faster in accordance with Moore’s Law.
Moore’s Law, penned by Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore more than 25 years ago, stipulates that semiconductors double in power roughly every 18 months. And analysts note that it shows no signs of being repealed in the near-term.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials will start selling its Swift ion implanter, which performs the doping process on silicon wafers far more efficiently and accurately than in the past, Applied Materials said. Doping is the manufacturing process by which current is allowed to flow through the chip and among its transistors.
The new product, compared with earlier products offered by Applied Materials and others, is akin to the difference between going to one gas station to fill up a car’s fuel tank rather than three separate ones, Applied Materials said.
Applied Materials said that the Swift system could yield savings at chip factories of as much as 45 percent in overall capital and operating costs as well as boosting yields, the number of working chips obtained from each silicon wafer.
According to market researcher Dataquest, the market for so-called implant systems was $649 million in 1999 and is forecast to more than double to $1.4 billion in 2004.