Float Zone Wafers | How Was the Float Zone Method Developed?


July 31, 2017

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Float zone wafers, also known as FZ wafers, play a crucial role in countless applications ranging from power devices and detectors to solar products and everything in between. As a result, it’s safe to say that without them, our lives and current technologies would be extremely different. Their impact is so huge that it is hard to imagine what is like before the development of the float zone method. How, and when, was the float zone method developed? Keep reading to find out!

The Development of Float Zone Wafers

The crucial semiconductor technology that is used to develop float zone wafers, known as float zone refining, was created in Bell Labs in the early 1950s. The method enables ultra-pure samples of germanium and silicon that possess only the smallest of impurities that are frequently as low as one part in ten billion, which is equivalent to a pinch of sugar in three freight cars of salt. It all began in 1952 when chemist Henry Theurer developed a variation of the zone refining and dubbed it float-zone refining. This process takes a rod of silicon that is clamped at both ends as it passes vertically through a heating coil. The small molten segment remains fixed in place between the solid portions of the rod due to surface tension. Then, using steam refining, the most stubborn impurities are removed and float zone silicon is produced.Float zone wafers were developed for a reason, and that reason is for you to use them. Get the best wafers for your next project at Wafer World, Inc. Our fully equipped online store grants you’re the ability to shop for wafers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a short lead time in a secure virtual environment. Contact us today to learn more.

what is the history of float zone wafers