Why Are So Many Wafers Made from Silicon?


April 6, 2022

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Silicon is not the most effective semiconductor. This begs the question, then: why is it such a common material for wafers? Today, we’re going to discuss why silicon is so commonly used, as well as what advantages other materials can offer.

We hope this helps you understand when it’s advisable to buy silicon wafers and when wafers made from other materials might be preferable.

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What Were the First Semiconductive Materials?

The potential of semiconductive materials was first discovered in 1833, when Michael Faraday observed the conductivity of silver sulfide. From there, galena and copper sulfide both showed promise to researchers. Silicon only appeared on the radar of semiconductor researchers in 1940.

How Silicon Came to Be Used

Silicon is the most common semiconductor material because it’s the second most common element on earth. The fact that it’s easy to find makes it cost-effective to use. This is especially important given the complexities of the semiconductor supply chain, which can make it difficult to respond quickly to new market demands.

Endless Possibilities

There are many different materials that wafers can be made from. We recommend speaking with a manufacturer who can provide advice tailored to your needs, but here are a few of the possibilities:

  • Germanium
  • GaAs
  • Sapphire
  • InP

Often, different industries have different needs. For instance, germanium is often an important element in high-speed devices, whereas cars are more likely to use silicon wafers.

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Want to Buy Silicon Wafers?

Wafer World has you covered. For decades, we’ve been providing clients with all kinds of wafers. This includes silicon but also encompasses other materials, such as germanium, sapphire, and more.

Whether you have any questions you’d like to ask us or you’d like a quote for a wafer you can’t find on our site, please contact us. We’re always happy to help people understand the many wonders of semiconductors.

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