Intel on Monday opened a new research lab in Hillsboro, Ore., dedicated to chipmaking technologies based on 300-millimeter silicon wafers. The $250 million lab, dubbed RP1 for "research and pathfinding," will be used to develop photolithography, transistors, advanced interconnects, and more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, the company said.
The use of 300mm wafers is an important new development for Intel and the chipmaking industry as a whole. The larger size, as compared with the 200mm wafer chips, will allow chipmakers to produce more chips per wafer, increasing manufacturing capacity of existing factories and reducing per-chip manufacturing costs. Intel produced its first chips with 300mm wafers last April. It is expected to begin using the manufacturing technology next year.