Silicon is the most abundant solid element on earth. It is second only to oxygen and makes up more than 25% of the earth’s crust. It rarely occurs in elemental form though. Virtually all of silicon exists as compounds. In order to get the pure silicon that is required for silicon wafers, a variety of silicon growing methods is used. Two of those are Float Zone and Czochralski. Let’s take a look at both an FZ wafer and a CZ wafer.
The vast majority of the commercially grown silicon is Czochralski silicon due to the better resistance of the wafers to thermal stress, the speed of production, the low cost, and the high oxygen concentration. The industrial standard crystals range in diameter from 75 to 200 mm. The Czochralski method is named after Jan Czochralski, who determined the crystallization velocity of metals by pulling mono- and polycrystals against gravity out of a melt which is held in a crucible.
Float-zone silicon is a high-purity alternative to crystals grown by the Czochralski process. The concentrations of light impurities, such as carbon and oxygen, are extremely low. The float zone method is based on the zone-melting principle.
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