Over the years, many chip makers and semiconductor manufacturing equipment developers have had to find new ways to reduce costs without compromising product quality. One of those ways is by recycling or reclaiming wafers. Recycling or reclaiming silicon wafers for reuse has proven an effective option for containing costs and optimizing materials utilization associated with semiconductor manufacturing. Let’s take a look at how the reclaiming process works, where they can be found, and how it can save you money when it’s time to buy silicon wafers.
The wafer reclaim process begins with a visual inspection of incoming wafers for fatal flaws such as chipped edges or serious scratches. Wafers that pass this test are then measured for thickness to ensure that sufficient material exists to permit successful reclaim. After inspection, wafers pass through a chemical stripping process. This removes any film or any imperfections that might exist. This is followed by a series of progressively finer polishing steps, which restores the surface of the wafer to prime levels.Following the polishing sequence, the wafer is chemically cleaned, washed, rinsed with ultra-pure deionized water, and dried using both industry standard and proprietary techniques, completing the reclaim process.
Reclaimed wafers can be found in the following applications: