Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the world, behind only oxygen. It accounts for almost 30% of the Earth’s crust. Some of the most common materials that contain silicon are quartz, agate, flint, and common beach sand. It is also one of the most common materials found in every day electronic devices thanks to silicon wafers. Let’s take a look at how wafer manufacturing takes place.
Growing a silicon ingot can take anywhere from one week to one month, depending on several factors, including size, quality, and the specification. More than 75% of all single crystal silicon wafers grow via the Czochralski (CZ) method. CZ ingots require chunks of virgin polycrystalline silicon. These chunks are placed in a quartz crucible along with small quantities of specific Group III and Group V elements called dopants. The most common dopants are boron, phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. Once the ingot is fully-grown, it is ground to a rough size diameter that is slightly larger than the target diameter of the final silicon wafer. After the wafers have been sliced, the lapping process begins. Lapping the wafer removes saw marks and surface defects from the front and backside of the wafer. The final and most crucial step in the manufacturing process is polishing the wafer. This process takes place in a clean room.
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