Last week Intel demonstrated their first fully patterned 450mm wafer to a closed audience of select industry professionals. It makes little sense to shout this from the roof tops though, while this is in fact a huge breakthrough for the company and it certainly paves the way for the next generation of microprocessors, not many bar the hard-core CPU loving elite fully understand the concept, principles or even care how their hardware is made, just that it does its job.
But I digress, because this is a big achievement and Intel has worked closely for some time now with various suppliers such as Sumco, Dainippon Printing and Molecular Imprints to bring this project to fruition. It is now said that Molecular Impints’s Jet and Flash imprint lithography technology has already demonstrated 24-nm patterning, bringing with it line edges of less than 2nm and dimension uniformity down to 1.2nm both at an accuracy of 3sigma, doesn't sound like much but it paves the way for 10nm patterning in a single manufacturing process, perfect for the next few generations of microprocessors.
Intel are top of their game right now and this goes a long way to ensuring they stay at the top for quite some time. Intel don't plan to start manufacturing SoC's, CPU's and other products on these new 450mm wafers until sometime on or after 2015.