I think these wafers are sliced from single crystals. The crystals for these wafers will be truly enormous.
Taiwanese contract fab TSMC has become the latest chip-maker to join the 450mm (18 inch) wafer push, announcing a five-year project to put between $US8 billion and $US10 billion into a new chip plant. The project received government approval on Monday. Larger wafers are seen as key to future chip fabrication processes. As …
You don't ask Intel or TSMC when we will have 450mm fabs you ask AMAT and the other tool makers. From what I recall the tool makers at first took a bath on the transition to 300mm with the ROI taking years to recover. In a deep recession with chips ever becoming more of a commodity my guess is they will not be in a rush to move to 450mm as they are largely the ones on the hook for getting everything working right.
yes the machine makers are the ones who have to develop the technology. applied materials, telcor etc...it's also why you dont have much proprietary technology on each chip for fabrication. In order to have exclusive technology you have to pay for your own machines development and mfg.