The semiconductor chip is well recognized today for the fundamental revolution it brought to the advancement of electronics technology. Since the first integrated circuit was created by Jack Kilby in Texas Instruments labs more than 50 years ago, the idea of transistors on silicon becoming the building blocks for intelligent processors has transformed almost every facet of daily life. Even though chips are widely used, how the transformation of simple sand (silicon) into a highly complex chip occurs is less widely known. This short description was developed by Texas Instruments to explain at a high level what takes place in the unique environment where chips are made, the semiconductor fab.
From Sand to Ingots
The semiconductor manufacturing process begins with one of the most common elements on earth, silicon. Silicon is found in abundance in sand, but before it is used in semiconductor manufacturing it is refined to be virtually 100% pure. Purity of materials is fundamental to delivering chips that function as intended.
Pure silicon is then heated until it reaches a molten state and a perfectly structured silicon “seed” is then lowered into the molten silicon. The chemical properties of the molten silicon allow a chemical bond to be formed with the seed and a long ingot of solid silicon can slowly be pulled from the silicon as its cools and solidifies around the seed. When the process is complete, the finished ingot exactly mimics the physical characteristics of the original seed material.
The ingot is then carefully sawed into thin wafers the diameter of the ingot, most commonly 200 mm (8-inches) or 300 mm (12-inches) across.
Into the Fab
TI buys its wafers from companies that specialize in manufacturing the silicon ingots. Once the bare wafers, or substrates, arrive at TI, our real work begins!
Silicon is the base material for chips precisely because of the conductive properties related to its molecular structure. Under certain conditions silicon will conduct electricity and under other conditions it does not. That’s why we use the term “semiconductor.” This on/off capability is what underlies the transistor switching action that forms the ones and zeros of digital logic.
The multiple steps in semiconductor manufacturing all serve to build components with the necessary electrical structure to rapidly switch and transfer signals for computational purposes. In addition to the switching transistors and the metal traces that conduct electrical signals between various regions of the chips, insulating materials separate conducting areas of the device.
In order to alter the characteristics of the semiconductor, the following steps are undertaken in various sequences depending on the complexity and functionality of the device.
- Deposition is the process by which an insulating layer is grown on the silicon substrate
- Diffusion bakes impurities into areas of the wafer to alter its electrical characteristics
- Ion implantation is another process for infusing the silicon with various dopants to change its electrical characteristics
In between these steps, areas of the chip are patterned with an image for that particular layer of the device via photolithography. In photolithography, a very precise “mask” is used to expose photoresist that has been applied across the wafer, much like emulsion on film. This pattern hardens into an exact representation of the mask when it is developed.
Etching then removes selective areas of the pattern using a plasma that reacts to the material not covered by the hardened photoresist.
These steps are repeated to create layers of transistors with precise operating characteristics that have been determined by the deposition, diffusion and ion implantation steps. A specialized deposition process called Metallization forms the critical interconnections between different areas of the chip and different transistors. Metallization is also used to form the bonding pads that connect the chip to the package and then to the circuit board of the system it supports.
After all production steps are complete, a final protective layer is put over the entire wafer. Probe testing then provides an initial look at how many functional devices are on the wafer. (Current technology allows us to pack more than 180, 000 transistors in the cross-sectional area of a single human hair. At such tiny dimensions, even the smallest dust particle can ruin the functionality of an entire chip!) Next, a very precise saw cuts the individual chips from the wafer and the good die are packaged, tested again and shipped to the customer.How to make weed oil? what does bento mean How much onion is toxic to dogs? How to raise hdl cholesterol? How to clean wood floors? How to change language on disney plus? How to draw a girl easy? what does the georgia voting law say How to microwave an egg How to teach a dog fun tricks what does hide alerts mean How to register a dog? How to upload photos from iphone to computer? Tips on how to be a good writer Cast changes new tricks why what are defensive stocks what does como eres mean How to calculate linear feet? How to make lobster tails? How to love tips what are the odds questions How to get rid of moths How to take screenshot on iphone? How to clean windows? What guns use hollow tips what does it mean when a cat winks at you How to report cash tips to irs what does zesty mean in text Where to buy crutch tips How to get rid of ulcers How to release anger How to eat someone out? How to be a voice actor? Where to buy butane lighter refill bottle with adapter tips How to stop spotting Why do grass tips bend toward the light How to watch the office? How to use iron for men tips what time does food lion open what are the sins How to use apple tv? How to kill michael myers? what does pcr test for what are runtime errors How to get shorter? How to clear history on ipad Tony hawk pro skater 5 how to do tricks Who is the 64 year old member of the temperance movement who used bag of tricks to smash Where the beaumont tricks at How to find the determinant of a matrix? what does panzer mean what nba games are on How to tell if a dog has a fever? Which cake tips to buy How to set timer on iphone camera what teams are playing thursday night football tonight what does postmenopausal mean what does oled stand for How to make carne guisada How long to cook corn on the cob on the grill? How to cure high blood pressure in 3 minutes Pro tips on how to chip How to watch netflix with friends? How to unclog a toilet fast? How to make churros? How to turn bluetooth on windows 10? what does speak truth to power mean How long to wait to cut tri tips what does no fly zone mean what does eating the frog mean How to make metal in little alchemy what channels are on fubotv Tips on how to boost confidence what are subcutaneous injections How to get beeswax in minecraft? How to apply makeup like a professional: best tips and tricks for makeup application How to change tips on surface pen How long does it take to cook a baked potato what channel does alabama play on today what does hooking up mean How to calculate relative frequency what does recalcitrant mean How to voicw act a pain acting tips How to learn tricks cruser skateboard what does wednesday mean Tips on how to write an explication essay of a poem what does mbn mean in slang what does meh mean Start working niight shifr as a nurse what are some tips i have always worked days How to get my taste back after covid? How to become a camgirl How to dunk in 2k22? Tips for living with somone who is bipolar and liar How to set up a chess board No fear downhill mountain biking racing ps1 how to do tricks How to change aol password? what does she they mean in bio How to freeze fresh green beans? How long to cook meatballs? How to check tire size? How to pronounce acai Linus tech tips what does linus use to monitor temp How to help a hangover? what are ice chips How to check kidney function at home? what does asinine mean what does pleasure mean Why do the tips of avocado leaves turn brown How to borrow from cash app what does getting baptized mean what does bootleg mean what does sinus rhythm mean what does willow mean How to install artificial grass what time does urgent care open what does gaslighting someone mean How to find the length of a rectangle? what does outlaw mean