Now that integrated circuits have become the heart of most of our modern devices like cellphones, cars, computers, and TVs, wafer manufacturing has become increasingly important over the past decade. The increased demand for ICs and semiconductor devices has also led to an increased demand for wafers. And today, no longer is it enough to only produce high-quality wafers, they also need to be priced reasonably and delivered on time. In this article, we will discuss the important things you need to know about wafer manufacturing.
In wafer manufacturing, the process starts with silica sand processed through either the CZ method or FZ method to become highly pure silicon ingots. The silicon ingots are then ground, sliced into wafers, lapped and etched, polished, cleaned, assessed, and then packed.
Integrated circuits and other semiconductor devices are built layer by layer on a silicon wafer. But first, electrical engineers design the circuits and define their functions and specify its inputs and outputs. These data are then entered into an electrical circuit design software and then transferred into a circuit layout program to prepare the wafers for the photo masking process.
The photo masking process involves photoresist patterns photo-masked in micrometer design onto the wafers’ surface. The wafers are then exposed to short-wave ultraviolet light to embed the pattern and the rest of the unexposed areas are cleaned away.
After wafer fabrication, the wafers are then sent to be electrically probed. This step will help determine whether they’re functional or not. The functional ICs are then separated from the non-functional ones. An electronic map of the wafer will be made, preparing the functional ICs for assembly and packaging. After this, the packed ICs will go through several test operations to guarantee that only functional ICs are sold to the public.
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