How Are Microchips Made Out of Silicon Wafers?


May 8, 2024

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A common mistake, especially in mass media outlets, is using the words “wafer” or “semiconductor” and “chip” as absolute synonyms. The confusion seems to stem from the fact that the first step in chip development is wafer manufacturing.  

Modern chips are highly complex pieces of technology developed from silicon semiconductor wafers, but they’re not the same. Here’s what their manufacturing process entails.

Silicon Wafer Manufacturing Process

Microchip Manufacturing Process  

In simple terms, microchips are made by adding layers to the silicon wafer’s surface. Modern chips can have up to 100 layers aligned, one on top of the other, with nanometer precision.  

As you can guess, crafting chips is a very complex procedure.  

  1. The chip manufacturing process begins with the deposition of thin layers of material onto silicon wafers. These materials can be either capacitors, isolators, or semiconductors.  
  1. The next step is lithography. It involves coating the wafer with photosensitive material and exposing it to light.  
  1. After leaving the lithography machine, the wafer is baked and developed to make the changes permanent and wash out the photoresist that isn't needed.
  1. Materials are used to etch away material from the open spaces, leaving a 3D version of the pattern.
  1. Afterward, the chip is measured and inspected for errors  
  1. The whole process is repeated until the wafer is covered in patterns.
Visual Quality Check During Silicon Wafer Manufacturing Process

Learn About Wafer Manufacturing in Wafer World

Wafers and microchips are great examples of todays’ advances in manufacturing. They both require complex developing processes, with high requirements, and specific production conditions and are redefining technology the way we know it.

If you want to purchase a wafer, give us a call!

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