Differences Between Silicon and Germanium Wafer Production


May 13, 2024

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Ge wafers and Si wafers have very different uses. The material’s properties, their availability, and even germanium and silicon manufacturing processes affect the wafer’s end state, making them two very different products.  

Each type of wafer has its unique set of benefits and downsides to offer. To better get the gauge of that, let’s see how the manufacturing process looks like for both.

Wafer Made Out of Silicon Manufacturing

Silicon Wafer Manufacturing Process

The silicon wafers’ manufacturing process follows the Czochralski method, which runs like this:  

  1. Silica sand is melted until it becomes pure, electronic-grade silicon.  
  1. The raw silicon extracted must be purified. To do so, it goes through a series of steps that involve refining, zone melting, and solidification.
  1. Once a full ingot of silicon is produced, it has a purity level of 99.9999%. This means that there’s only one foreign atom for every billion silicon atoms.  
  1. After the ingot is sliced to become a wafer, it undergoes various processes, such as:  
  • Etching  
  • Ion Implantation  
  1. After the wafer has been finished, it’s time for testing its quality.

Germanium Wafer Manufacturing Process

Similarly to silicon wafers, germanium wafers are developed following the Czochralski process. Still, there are some key differences in both procedures.

  1. The first step is zone refining to obtain highly pure germanium.  
  1. The Czochralski method is used to convert the element into a germanium crystal.  
  1. The crystal is cut, ground, and etched to form a wafer.  
  1. Germanium wafers are cleaned and inspected. The next step is polishing on either one or both sides, depending on the customer's specifications.
  1. The high-quality wafers are packed in single-wafer containers in a nitrogen atmosphere.
Cleaning Germanium Wafer During Manufacturing

Learn About Silicon Manufacturing and Wafers Made from Germanium

Both silicon and germanium wafer production are complex procedures that require precision and advanced technology. At the end, there are a series of tests and measurements that need to be conducted to ensure each one works perfectly, and without flaws.

If you want to hear more about our wafer manufacturing and quality control, give us a call

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