The electronic semiconductor industry is rapidly developing new technologies to manufacture ever smaller and better microchips. The circuits on these chips are extremely small. Therefore, production in the semiconductor industry requires the highest purity. For comparison: a hair is 0.1mm thick, the structures on a chip, however, only a few nanometers (1nm = 0.000001mm) in size. This ratio corresponds approximately to that of a cube (1cm) to the currently highest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa, with 828m.
In addition, the lines must be built in such a way that no conductive molecules (metals) get onto the wafers (wafers are thin slices of silicon that are processed into chips). Not only that: All media that are required to process the wafer must be fed in UHP (Ultra High Purity) systems. Even the slightest trace of metal causes short circuits in the thin tracks. Therefore, these fine structures have to be manufactured in clean rooms.
Many steps are required to produce a chip. First the silicon crystal is grown. The long crystal (ingot) is cut into slices less than 1mm thick. Then all uneven areas are removed with abrasives (lapping) and the edge of the wafer is rounded off. The disc is then etched and polished with various acids. The wafer is cleaned and is ready.
The wafer is the basis for further steps. One of them is inoculation with foreign molecules (doping). Typical processes for coating are CVD and PVD.
Another step is lithography. Here varnishes are applied, exposed in a certain way and thus hardened. In this way, structures are generated on the wafers. Another technique is etching. There are several types of etching here. All processes have one thing in common, they use corrosive chemicals or gases.
If you use these processes repeatedly, a finished transistor is created. This is the heart of a chip.
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