By Dylan Richards

agreementkittensSemiconductor

Nov 2, 2013 (4 years and 11 days ago)

356 views

By Dylan Richards

A silicon chip is a semiconductor
-

a very good conductor of electricity where the
current can be altered, depending on how it’s treated to either conduct or block
the flow of electricity.


At the base of every silicon chip, lies sand. Quartz sand is commonly used
because it contains large quantities of crystallized silicon. Unfortunately, silicon
doesn’t exist in nature as a pure standalone element; it’s usually found in the
form of complex silicate minerals.


Silicon exists in the Earth’s crust as the second most abundant element,
responsible for 28% of the crust’s mass. This, combined with silicon’s unique
semiconductor properties, makes it a good choice for electronic circuit boards.

Quartz sand

A pure quartz crystal

(silicon dioxide/silica
-

SiO
2
)

Pure silicon

Silicon chips are used and manufactured by multinational companies which are
widely recognized around the world.


Such companies include:



Intel



Samsung



NVIDIA



AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)



Qualcomm



Texas Instruments (TI)



ASUS



Crucial



Kingston

Silicon chips can also be categorized

into their specific use:



Central processing



Graphical processing



Short and long
-
term memory



Audio processing



Network administration

1.

Raw poly
-
silicon is placed into a furnace to melt at 1400
°
C. The furnace is
filled with argon gas to eliminate any traces of air.


2.

The molten silicon is then placed into a crucible and spun rapidly. A small
pencil
-
sized crystal of silicon is inserted, spinning in the opposite direction.


3.

As the silicon is cooled, the crystal is withdrawn at a rate of 1.5mm/min. The
resulting crystal, now called an ingot, weighs 440lb and is 20cm thick. Silicon
is so incredibly strong that it can support this weight on a single thread just
3mm across.


4.

Using chemicals and X
-
rays, the ingot’s purity and molecular orientation are
checked against standards set by the manufacturer.


5.

The ingot is then fed into a high
-
speed 10
-
ton wire saw and cut into
individual silicon chips which are two
-
thirds of a millimeter thick and 99.999%
pure.


6.

Microscopic marks from cutting are buffered by a process known as lapping


the use of a spinning polisher operating at a high velocity.

7.

The chips still aren’t smooth enough, therefore they’re buffered again, this
time in a chemical process, resulting in silicon wafers with a surface
roughness of less than a millionth of a millimeter.


8.

Next, the circuit design is etched into the chip’s surface. This is done in a
special room where 12,000 tons of air conditioning equipment keeps the air a
thousand times cleaner than that of a hospital operation room; employees
wear special protective gear at all times. This is because a single particle of
dust can kill a silicon chip.


9.

Circuit imprinting is done via photolithography. The wafers’ surfaces are
coated with photosensitive chemicals which harden when exposed to
ultraviolet light.


10.

In very dark rooms, the light is first shown through an image of the circuit
design, then through a miniaturizing lens and onto the coated wafer.


11.

The chemicals are washed off, leaving the design etched into the surface.


12.

This is repeated for up to 40 times, adding up to 40 layers per silicon chip.

13.

Some layers are cooked; some are bathed in molten metals; others are
blasted with ionized plasma
-

each type of treatment changes the properties
for that specific layer.


14.

Each finished wafer carries up to 1,000 individual microchips and billions of
circuit elements.


15.

The wafers are finally cut into the individual chips, packaged and shipped out
to companies which produce computer components, such as Intel.

An Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 laptop processor

A module of
Hypertec

RAM (short
-
term memory)



How a Silicon Chip Is Made



Intel Pentium EE CPU
-

http://download.intel.com/pressroom/kits/pentiumee/pentiumee_processor_back.jpg




Western Digital hard drive circuitry
-

http://farm1.staticflickr.com/155/412971911_f8e92c7c78.jpg



Kingston DDR RAM
-

http://picom.priceindia.in/computer/wp
-
content/uploads/2008/10/ddr
-
ram.png



Broadcom network chip
-

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2783/4422313162_ee233a2b57.jpg




What Is It?



Quartz sand
-

http://www.techandlife.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2010/12/Sand
-
grains.jpg



Quartz crystal
-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Quartz%2C_Tibet.jpg



Pure silicon
-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/SiliconCroda.jpg



Common Examples



Intel logo
-

http://siliconangle.com/files/2011/05/intel
-
logo.jpg



Qualcomm logo
-

http://cdn.theunlockr.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2010/06/qualcomm
-
logo.jpg



ASUS logo
-

http://www.droiddog.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2012/08/asus
-
logo.jpg



Samsung logo
-

http://www.talkandroid.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2012/04/samsung
-
logo1.jpg



NVIDIA logo
-

http://www.gev.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2012/04/nvidia
-
logo1.jpg




AMD logo
-

http://i.imgur.com/CYpLV.png



Intel Core 2 Duo logo
-

http://images.wikia.com/logopedia/images/8/8a/Intel
-
core
-
2
-
duo
-
logo
-
new.jpg




Intel Core i7 logo
-

http://tinkertry.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2011/09/2009
-
i7
-
logo.png



Qualcomm Snapdragon logo
-

http://i.imgur.com/ZxBE3.jpg




NVIDIA GeForce logo
-

http://i.imgur.com/tp3Kc.jpg




Crucial
Ballistix

logo
-

http://www.overclockersonline.net/images/articles/crucial/ballistix_logo.png



AMD
Radeon

logo
-

https://fr
-
designs.com/CRE/images/1000px
-
AMD_Radeon_logo.svg_.png




NVIDIA Tegra 3 logo
-

http://www.geardiary.com/wp
-
content/uploads/2012/06/Tegra3
-
23.jpg




How Is It Made?



Manufacturing process
-

http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC
-
2476




Manufacturing process
-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWVywhzuHnQ




Manufacturing process
-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg
-
mvrG
-
K
-
E




Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 CPU
-

http://www.logicsupply.com/images/photos/processors/core2duo_socketp_big.jpg




Hypertec

DDR3 RAM
-

http://i.imgur.com/ej8lp.jpg