Chip makers Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Ltd. announced they are partnering to drive the semiconductor industry transition to larger, 450-mm wafers starting in 2012. The total silicon surface area of a 450-mm wafer and the number of printed die (individual computer chips, for example) it can contain is more than twice that of a 300-mm wafer; bigger wafers help lower the production cost per chip, the companies said, and also cut down on air pollution, gases that contribute to global warming, and water used in the manufacturing process. Historically the industry has changed to a larger wafer size every 10 years to enable continued industry growth by keeping integrated chip (IC) manufacturing and applications at a reasonable cost. "The transition to 450-mm wafers will benefit the entire ecosystem of the IC industry, and Intel, Samsung, and TSMC will work together with suppliers and other semiconductor manufacturers to actively develop 450-mm capability," said Cheong-Woo Byun, senior vice president, Memory Manufacturing Operation Center, Samsung Electronics. The companies will cooperate with the semiconductor industry to help ensure that all of the required components, infrastructure and capability are developed and tested for a pilot line by the target date of 2012 and said they will continue to work with International Sematech (ISMI) in coordinating industry efforts on 450-mm wafer supply, standards setting and developing equipment test-bed capabilities.