The Ever-Shrinking World


June 18, 2021

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Does size matter anymore? Is there a real advantage of packing a big wafer or sporting a smaller, more refined one? The answer shouldn't shock you; over time, everything shrinks, including wafers. Did you know standard silicon wafers have been replaced with double side polish wafers, which are even smaller?  Wafer World has been slowly shrinking chips over time as they continue to evolve to become ever more efficient. Even though cell phones are increasingly becoming the size of tablets, technology as a whole is shrinking. Contact Waferworld for your wafers needs on your next project!  

double side polish wafer

Originals are Always Bigger

The first of anything always leaves a lot of room for improvement; technology is no different. Tech has a way of shrinking over time, which for consumers is a very good thing. Efficiency and performance constantly improve as tech gadgets become smaller. Why? All the components that go into building tech (computers, phones, TVs, game consoles, etc.) all started large and ineffective. For 80 years, the world has seen night and day changes to transistors, capacitors, and all other standard components, allowing products to be trimmer and more robust.  

When Did Technology Start Shrinking?

Technology begins its path to getting smaller each time a new invention is created. Think of the first computer; the original size of this machine was larger than you may be thinking. It's remarkable how it seems to be in human nature to take technology and see how small they can make it. In 1946 the world's first computer was powered on for the very first time. Its name was ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. The ENIAC stood eight feet tall and filled the 50 x 30 ft room it was built in. The hulking machine was assembled with the following parts:

  • 40 2x8 ft panels
  • 17k +vacuum tubes
  • 70k transistors
  • 20k capacitors
  • 6k switches
  • 1,500 relays

Despite its huge size, this hulking beast was slow; it could execute no more than 5,000 commands per second. High-end computers today have the potential to perform upwards of 1.8 billion commands per second. However, most people have access to computers that can handle executing nearly 100 million instructions.   The first transistors invented were the size of the average human palm and were roughly a half-inch in depth. Today's transistors are microscopic; they can get to be as smaller than 30 nanometers long and still be effective. To get a true sense of the length of a nanometer, a human hair averages out to be 90,000 nanometers wide.  Now today, we have phones that do so much more while fitting in our pockets. It truly is amazing how far technology has become and so much, But how is this possible; what allowed the computer to be the size of a basement to now be as size varying today?  

Wafer Size is Very Important

Before you can begin shrinking all the other components, you need to take care of the guts first. The inner workings of the computer needed to shrink and make them all more efficient to cut down on total moving parts.  The first things that needed shrinking were the IC chips or integrated circuit chips. IC chips contain wafers, which were first made in the 1940s, coincidentally at the same time as the ENIAC was created.  The smaller and thinner the wafer gets, the more effective and energy-efficient they become. Think of the tiny transistors in your phone; they are all stronger and more robust than those in the ENIAC, and smaller allows the device to fit comfortably in your hand.  

Double Side Polish Wafers

These wafers are even flatter than others on the market. For instances where space is at a premium, double-sided wafers come in handy. By making the wafer double-sided, you are effectively doubling the conductivity of the wafer. This, in turn, makes double side wafers even more efficient while being smaller and thinner than other silicon wafers. As society has witnessed technology shrink, revolutions like these promote smaller and more streamlined versions of gadgets to become fabricated.  

How Are They Made Thinner?

Wafers are ground down by using precise tools. Common production sees a reduction in thickness from 750 micrometers, all the way down to 50 micrometers thick. This is remarkable considering the silicon doesn't break after being ground down so drastically.  Once the wafer is ground on both sides, the wafer is also polished. This removes subsurface damage and debris, which improves the wafer's effectiveness as a semiconductor. At the same time, polishing also adds more flexibility to the wafer.


Computers today are not only much smaller but also thinner. Much like transistors, all the other parts have shrunk in size over time as well. TVs have also greatly benefitted from the size reduction in parts. This had seen a remarkable shift in appearance from when they first debuted until now. In the past, the "box" was the biggest part of the Tv, while the screen was always relatively smaller. As transistors and other mechanical components have grown smaller and more efficient, TVs have become flatter and support high-end visuals on larger screens.

From Rotary Dial to Smartphone  

The phone has seen a remarkable transformation. What a change from phones only being in building or phonebooth, to being able to take a phone with you anywhere. The average person probably never leaves their home without it.  However, let's focus on the smartphone in particular. Much like TVs, they had more going on in the back than in the visuals department; screens were small, phones were quite thick, and they were much heavier than they are now.  

double side polish wafer

For Your Double Side Polish Wafer Needs, Visit Wafer World!

For the highest quality wafers you can find on the market, Wafer World is your destination. With many years of wafer-producing experience, Wafer World has become a world leader in the industry. Let these experts point you in the right direction today.

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