Silicon manufacturing involves a series of processes that aim to produce high-quality, defect-free wafers. In this article, we will discuss the different processes involved in silicon manufacturing to give you an idea of how wafers come to be.
Silicon manufacturing begins by growing an ingot. This process can take anywhere from one week to a month, depending on the size, specification, and quality of the wafer. Two methods can be used to grow an ingot: FZ method and CZ method. Highly pure silicon is placed in a quartz container together with small amounts of dopants to achieve the desired properties for the grown ingot.
Once the ingot has grown, it is then sliced at once to many pieces using a wire-saw.
After slicing the ingot into wafers, the wafer edges are then ground using a diamond tool to achieve each client’s unique edge shape requirement and measurement.
After grinding the wafer edges, the wafers will then go through lapping. This process involves placing wafers in a carrier, which rotates between two spinning lapping plates. This process aims to get rid of any damages on wafer surfaces and achieve the customer’s desired thickness.
Etching helps remove any damages on the wafers’ surfaces as a result of previous slicing and lapping.
Donor elimination heat treatments get rid of unstable thermal donors, which helps bring back the intended specific resistance of the wafer.
In order to achieve a mirror-like, smooth surface, wafers need to go through polishing. Polishing also helps thin wafers and gets rid of any damages on the surfaces.
After going through all these steps, the wafers are physically and chemically cleaned.
After the wafers are cleaned, they will go through inspection to guarantee that they’re of high-quality, uniformly flat, and defect-free.
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