Although a silicon wafer is merely a thin slice of semiconductor material, it acts as a substrate for various types of microelectronic devices. These wafers are usually around 1mm thick and 200-300mm in diameter – about the size of a medium to large pizza. Although silicon wafers can control the flow of electric current between the microscopic components of the integrated circuits embedded in them, they can break easily without proper handling.
Since silicon wafers are efficient, thermally stable, and inexpensive to process, they may be excellent semiconductor materials for various applications. To produce these wafers, manufacturers melt ultra-pure silicon. Next, they painstakingly pull a single crystal from the pool of molten silicon.
Once the single-crystal of silicon hardens, they slice off wafers from it. Since the atoms of single-crystal silicon are meticulously aligned, a single atom-sized impurity or indentation can seriously mess up the wafer’s atomic alignment. These imperfections can also render the entire ingot useless.
Silicon wafer breakage is possible during wafer production, handling, and transport. The residual stresses produced on the wafers while they undergo a series of rigorous production steps increase their risk of breakage. Likewise, wafers can also break when the handling and transporting conditions are poor.
Besides causing delays for chip manufacturers and their customers, silicon wafer breakage requires wafer manufacturers to spend more money on reverse logistics. However, when it comes to preventing product damage, manufacturers don’t use a one-size-fits-all solution. They look at the entire wafer production process to create a comprehensive strategy that involves staff training, the use of new technology, and shipping best practices.
If you’re looking to find top-quality silicon wafers, get in touch with Wafer World today. Contact us today for inquiries or to request a quote.