Silicon Wafer | What Is It and What Is It Used For?


February 8, 2016

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If you are at all involved with today’s modern society, chances are you have come across and even utilized a silicon wafer. It may not have been consciously, but if you have used devices like a smart phone or a computer, you have most certainly taken advantage of this equipment!

What is a Silicon Wafer?

To begin we will explain silicon and the characteristics of this element that make it appropriate for our uses. Silicon is the second most common element on Earth and it is the seventh-most common element in the entire universe. It is the most common semi conductor and the most widely used in the electronic and technology sector. There are different silicon fabrication methods including the horizontal gradient freeze method, the horizontal bridgeman method, the vertical bridgeman method, the vertical gradient freeze and finally the Czochralski pulling method.During the growth process intentional additions of dopants can be added to the to change the purity of the silicon depending on what the purpose of it will be. These introduced impurities can change the electrical properties of the silicon, which can be useful depending on what the silicon is ultimately being produced for. Boron, aluminum, nitrogen, gallium and indium are just some of the silicon dopants that can be introduced during the growth process. Depending on what level the silicon has been doped, the semiconductor can be considered extrinsic or degenerate. Extrinsic would be lightly to moderately doped whereas degenerate semiconductors act more as conductors because of the high levels of doping that occurs during the fabrication.Silicon wafers are a key component in integrated circuits. Integrated circuits are, simply put, a composite of various electronic components that are arranged to perform a specific function. Silicon is the principle platform for semiconductor devices. A wafer is a thin slice of this semiconductor material, which serves as the substrate for microelectronic devices built in and over the wafer.Silicon wafers are ubiquitous in pretty much every electronic device around us. It is a popular material used to manufacture semiconductors. A silicon wafer looks like a flat disk with a polished, mirror-like surface. The surface is free of irregularities, enhancing its purity and making it a perfect fit for semiconductor devices.Popular Silicon wafer fabrication methods are the Czochralski pulling method and Vertical Bridgeman method. Newer methods like the Float Zone method are gaining popularity owing to superior purity and fewer defects. They are widely used in the manufacture of chips and microchips for electronic devices.

What it is Used For?

As it was mentioned before, silicon wafer’s primary use is in integrated circuits. Integrated circuits power many of the devices that modern society uses everyday. Computers and smartphones are just two of the devices that are dependent on this technology. Although other semiconductors have been tested overtime, silicon has proved to be stable option. Other uses include sensors, such as the tire pressure sensor system, and solar cells. Silicon wafers absorb the photons in sunlight and this in turn create electricity.Many companies use silicon wafers in their product testing. In this purpose, a lot of time the product or prototype is created and tested. Through this testing the silicon wafer can become damaged and although in the past this would lead to the wafer being discarded and a new wafer being purchased for further testing. With the technology Wafer World has created, however, companies are saving millions! After a wafer is used, companies can send back the wafers to Wafer World where through our GaAs +InP reclaim processes they are recycled. Give us a call at 561-842-4441 or contact our West Palm Beach silicon wafer manufacturing company online for all of your wafer needs! We have been serving customers since 1997 and currently serve customers in over 45 countries! We are committed to producing quality wafer products, so contact us today!

Usage Silicon Wafer

Silicon wafers are responsible for jump-starting the digital era and continue to be widely used in electronics and computing. They form the critical components of integrated circuits (IC's).IC's are a combination of various electronic components that perform a specific function. A large number of devices in the world today rely heavily on Silicon wafers for their functioning. Its application spans different types of industries. A few popular ones are:

- Computing: Silicon wafers feature strongly in the computing industry. The most prominent usage is for creating RAM chips, which is a type of Integrated Circuit.

- Solar Cells: Solar cells use silicon wafers to increase efficiency and capture more sunlight per square feet. Materials like monocrystalline Silicon, amorphous Silicon, and cadmium telluride are commonly used. Modern fabrication processes, like the Floating Zone method, increase solar cell efficiency by up to 25%.Solar cells are semiconductor devices and follow the same manufacturing process as microchips. The quality and purity levels required for solar cells are less stringent than usage for computing and other electronics.

- Semiconductors: Semiconductors come in all shapes and forms. They form the building blocks for a wide range of electronic devices. These include diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits.They are fabricated using silicon wafers, which lend its compactness and efficiency. They are capable of handling a wide range of currents and voltages. They are used in power devices, optical sensors, and even lasers.

- Optics: Polished Silicon wafers are specifically manufactured to meet optical grading. Silicon wafers are economical material with applications in Infra-Red (IR) and Reflective optics.Silicon wafers for optics are fabricated using the CZ method or the Floating Zone method. These methods yield higher purity and fewer defects compared to other methods. They find usage in both fiber optics and micro-optic devices worldwide.Silicon wafers are commonly used in the manufacture of the following devices:- Computers and mobile phones- Wearable smart devices- Automobile electronics- Aerospace and Drone technology- Detection and sensor devices- Home appliances- Robotics and AI- Medical and imaging equipmentVirtually any device with electronic circuitry has a strong use-case for the use of Silicon wafers. New fabrication techniques and automated processes are making them more efficient and powerful. Silicon wafers have applications in every aspect of human life and the proliferation of technology.Get in touch with us to learn more about Silicon Wafer.

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