The Ultimate Guide to Modern Computer Chips


July 27, 2020

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Did you know that all computer chips begin as sand? Before becoming a central processing unit for computers, that's exactly how they start out. Essentially, a microchip is a wafer of semiconductor material implanted with integrated circuitry. You'll need a high-quality silicon wafer for the best possible computer chip because the higher quality means faster performance and higher efficiency.

What Does It Do?

In simplest terms, a computer chip executes commands that comprise a computer program. It has three main functions:

  • Performs mathematical equations through a logic unit
  • Moves memory from one computer chip to another
  • Creates instructions and make decisions

Computer chips use read-only memory (ROM) and random-access memory (RAM). Typically, ROM chips operate during your computer's startup process, while RAM is often utilized during the routine use of a computer after being booted up. Here are some more examples of the differences between ROM and RAM chips:

  • RAM is volatile, meaning it needs the power to store data, while ROM is non-volatile, meaning it doesn't need the power to store data.
  • RAM temporarily stores files, while ROM stores the BIOS program on the motherboard
  • The difference in storage is huge, with ROM having a smaller capacity of 4 to 8 MB, while RAM has a large storage potential at 1 to 256 GB.

Computer chips will also usually have an instruction capacity, which means they can't handle more than a certain amount of instructions.

what is a silicon wafer computer chip?

How It's Made

Computer chips, which are also called microprocessors, are made through a process called lithography. It's actually very similar to photography. The only main difference is that in photography, light is used to transfer images onto film. For computer chips, light is used to transfer images onto a silicon surface.

Starting Out

As we've mentioned before, every computer chip starts out with sand. It's specifically called silica sand and is made out of silicon dioxide. The sand is purified and filtered until it's built into electronic-grade silicon shaped into an ingot.

Making Wafers

Once the silicon is shaped, it will be thinly sliced into wafers, which need to be kept flawless throughout the entire computer chip creation process. These will act as a semiconductor for devices using the computer chip. The wafers will then be marked with a laser and carefully polished before heading on to the next step.

what is a silicon wafer?

UV Light

Once the silicon wafer is ready to move forward, it's covered with a thin photoresist layer. Photoresist is an essential material for computer chip creation that's light-sensitive. Once the wafer is coated, a machine shines a UV light mask on it, which outlines the circuits' pattern.


Once the photoresist is washed off of the silicon wafer, it's doped with ions, essentially introducing impurities to alter three properties:

  • Electrical
  • Optical
  • Structural


During this stage of the chip creation process, unwanted silicon is removed by using chemicals. Photolithography is used throughout this step to slowly craft the computer chip, and three holes are etched into an insulation layer placed on the transistor's surface.


Next, electroplating is used to create a copper layer that leaves deposits in the insulation layer holes.


At the end of the computer chip creation process, the transistors are connected, an extremely complex process since there can be many layers. Once completed, the chip is ready to act as a processor.


For the manufacturing process's final stage, the chips are tested and later fabricated if they are working correctly. They are tested based on multiple performance functions, such as power and frequency. Once this is all completed, they are ready to be packaged!The computer chip manufacturing process is completed with numerous highly advanced machines to ensure that everything is crafted to perfection. When human interaction is kept to a minimum, there will be less chance that there will be accidents or mistakes, meaning higher quality chips almost every time.

where can i buy a silicon wafer?

How is it Used?

Modern computer chips aren't just used on your home computer. Numerous electronic devices you use in your daily life contain them. You'd be surprised how many gadgets utilize these small and sophisticated tools!


Vehicles have become so advanced that they now use computer chips in the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Cars can have numerous ECUs depending on how many services they offer based on a computer function. Here are some examples:

  • Instrument cluster
  • Performance enhancement
  • Anti-lock brake system
  • Door control
  • Battery management
  • Seat control

Cell Phones

In the past, computers needed a large number of chips to handle different processes, but as technology advances, more and more can be combined into a single chip. This means that a high-end computer can now fit inside your small phone!


You've probably never thought of your thermostat having a computer chip, but it does! These contain microprocessors that can control the climate of a home.


Most televisions are now considered to be smart TVs, which have multiple functions beyond simply watching live TV. These extra functions, such as games, apps, and streaming, require computer chips. Smart TVs are still relatively new to the market, but recent technological strides with computer chips have made switching from apps to live TV much faster.

And More!

As technology has become more present in our daily lives, computer chips have become an essential tool used much more than just with the computer at your home or office.

what is a silicon wafer?

Need a Silicon Wafer for Computer Chip Manufacturing?

Silicon wafers are a necessary tool for the creation of computer chips. If the wafer is of high quality, the computer chip is faster and more efficient, so you'll want to get the best silicon wafer. When you come to Wafer World, you can expect an incredible amount of care and precision, meaning you get a high-quality wafer every time. If you're interested in purchasing our silicon wafers, we'd be happy to help you. Contact us today for inquiries!

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