CHRISTIAN KOCH, MICROCHEMICALS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN KOCH, MICROCHEMICALS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Silicon wafer production. Cutaway artwork showing silicon wafers in an oxidation furnace. Silicon used in microchips needs to be precisely engineered for structure and purity. These wafers have been machined from a large single-crystal ingot that was grown from high-grade polycrystalline silicon. The silicon is doped as needed to produce a semiconductor with the required properties. The wafers are sliced from the ingot and polished. The stage shown here, oxidation to produce a thin glass layer, is part of the early stages of building microchip circuitry on the wafer. This will be followed by processes such as etching and photolithography.
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