Do you know what silicon wafers are? If you use a computer, smartphone, or any other piece of portable technology, then you probably do. Yet, most likely, you aren’t physically aware of them.
It provides power
Simply put, silicon wafers are used as semiconductors within integrated circuits. When installed, they create a junction to conduct power through the circuit, thus allowing the computer or phone to boot up.
Because of their resilience, technology manufacturers use silicon wafers from companies like PCA to test their products. Some throw these away while others return them to the manufacturer to recycle. In either case, these wafers are continuously produced to assist in testing an increasing amount of technology.
How are they produced?
The way these wafers are produced and packaged starts with the silicon itself. The brittle composition starts off as an ingot. The growth of this can be anywhere from one week to a whole month depending on its size and electrical properties.
Once it’s fully grown the ingot is ground down to the rough diameter of a wafer. Then, it is given a notch to indicate its orientation. After it’s put through a number of quality assurance tests, the ingot is sliced into a series of thin wafers. And, due to the material’s hardness, a diamond-edge saw is utilized to make the cuts.
Next water is lapped over the wafer’s surface to further thin it as well as remove saw marks and defects. This is followed by the most crucial step — polishing the wafer. This is when the product goes through a number of chemical washes to not only remove any particulates but also give it a mirror-like shine.
Finally, the wafers are ready to be packaged via a pick and place method. In this procedure, the wafers are moved to different locations per their die — their configuration. The process is normally automated so the cleanliness of the wafers is ensured.
This is just a summary of how silicon wafers are manufactured. If you’re interested in the details, contact your wafer manufacturer for a potential tour of their facilities.