The world's largest independent chip maker is considering a new production process that could eventually double its output of chips used in CPUs, PC graphics cards and other high-tech products.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is developing a 450mm silicon wafer production process, according to a government researcher.
A TSMC spokesperson told local media in Taipei that the company is considering whether to buy chip-making machinery for the new production process.
The most advanced chip-making technologies currently use 300mm silicon wafers. Chips are built up layer by layer on the thin, circular wafers using several chemical and optical processes.
When the chips are complete, the wafers are sliced up so that individual chips can be tested and packaged.
A 300mm wafer provides approximately 2,200 square centimetres of surface area for the chips. Expanding the wafer diameter to 450mm would more than double the space to almost 5,000 square centimetres.
TSMC will also be able to decrease the size of the chips, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times.
The company is currently preparing to shift much of its production to a 45nm process and, in common with other leading chip makers, already has plans in place to reduce circuit size to 32nm and smaller.
As chip making processes become more sophisticated, increasingly fewer companies have the expertise, and the billions of dollars in capital, required to move up market.
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