Imagine a world with no GPS, no TVs, and no phones. That's life without wafers. Wafers are in every piece of tech that you own. So next time you think the wafer cookies in your fridge are your favorite wafers in the world, remember you wouldn't be able to tweet that without wafers from Wafer World, a silicon wafer supplier.On the other side of that coin, imagine a science fiction film come to life. Silicon may either be Earth's demise, or it could be a catalyst that kicks starts even better things down the road. What will futuristic travel, weaponry, and technology look like? Will it be everything the movies promise or something better? Silicon plays a vital role in the answer.
Wafers are a vital element in IC chips that specialize in issuing commands. Essentially, wafers make technology function. Silicon is the most prevalent semiconductor for various types of diodes, cells, and circuits. For the reasons above, silicon wafers are an integral part of the IC chip, allowing it to operate at speeds capable of keeping up with newer technology.Silicon allows for higher electron mobility, which will enable it to be a better semiconductor in transistors. Electron mobility is the key to why and how wafers work. Without silicon, today would be quite different.
Before silicon was used, germanium was the element of choice for semiconductors. Technology undoubtedly has gotten faster with the use of silicon wafers instead of germanium, and there are other reasons it's used instead.
Atomic number 14, or silicon, is a highly conductive element used as semiconductor material by silicon wafer suppliers. This element was discovered in the early 1820s. Silicon is neither a metal nor is it a nonmetal. Silicon is a metalloid, which means it's in between the two.Metalloids are a bit of a gray area as there is no solidified definition as of yet. What is known is that all metalloids share common characteristics of both metals and nonmetals. This leads to why silicon is superior to metals as a conductor; it gets more efficient the hotter it becomes, whereas metals are the opposite.
Number 32 on the periodic table, germanium also comes after silicon when ranking conductive elements.Much like silicon, Germanium is also a metalloid but is more closely aligned to metals than nonmetals, rendering it less effective than silicon, however it does have its own unique benefits compared to the semiconductor frontrunner. The hay day for germanium was during World War II where it was first used in high-resolution radar receivers. Shortly after, it was then used in transistors for the first time as well.
Luckily, it’s highly unlikely we will ever run out of silicon. There’s simply just so much of it. The Earth's crust comprises massive silicon and is the second most reoccurring natural element in the known world. Earth will be bound to have other shortages of more necessary things to live or catastrophic issues long before silicon will near its bottom limits.
If silicon runs out, the least of your worries will be having a paperweight instead of a smartphone in your pocket. Since so much of the Earth's crust is silicon, this would require the crust to nearly disappear. There would be many other things that would need to run out first before we need to worry about silicon disappearing. Even if it were to happen, it would be long after any of us are still around.It would probably be very challenging and nearly impossible to bring life back to a glimpse of its former self. Engineers would need to make a permanent switch to a substitute such as germanium.The question then becomes, could germanium wafers replace silicon wafers? Yes and no. Germanium can't perform at the same temperature as silicon, which lowers the conductivity qualities of germanium. So, while, yes, germanium can be used, technology will take a step back as it’s the best element for certain situations.Luckily, germanium will not need to be relied on. GaAs (gallium arsenide) wafers have been shown to rank higher than silicon in several areas. GaAs wafers are the best choice for space travel since it withstands radiation much better than silicon, and they are even used to harness the power of 5G technology. So, even if a silicon shortage does happen in the future, luckily, there are some other options available.
The future of technology not only depends on Tony Stark-level genius but is also dependent on metalloids as well. While some plastics are made into semiconductors in transistors, they are primarily used as insulators. While in a pinch, plastic is a cheaper option, but silicon or GaAs is a much better option.So, while GaAs may have silicon beat out in space, the future will inevitably affect life on Earth than living as space interlopers. As you read this, military-grade exoskeletons are being made to be deployed during future conflicts eventually. Silicon wafers are sprinkled throughout the exoskeleton.Elon Musk is currently working on a device that allows for learning in seconds – topics that take dedication to master. Recall the scene in The Matrix where Neo learned kung fu or in the show Chuck when Chuck did the same; these are examples of Musk's new device. Although how futuristic it may seem, Elon Musk may accomplish it.Whether it be exoskeletons or instant learning apparatus, silicon wafers will be needed in the transistors. Silicon is as essential a piece to the puzzle as the drafted blueprints are. Without it, a silicon-less exoskeleton would lie on the ground uselessly.
You can count on Wafer World to provide you with the highest quality product on the market. With over 20 years in the trade, we are experts when it comes to manufacturing silicon wafers. Contact us to get started on your path to a better wafer.