CHRISTIAN KOCH, MICROCHEMICALS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN KOCH, MICROCHEMICALS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Silicon wafer production. Cutaway artwork showing the apparatus used to polish silicon wafers. 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 to attain the required super-flat, mirrored surface with only atomic-scale roughness. The polishing uses an ultra-fine slurry which mechanically and chemically smooths the wafer between rotating pads.
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