Wafer fabrication process overview by Top Seiko2023.05.27
SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING PROCESS – Wafer fabrication Overview
Following the series of processes that lead to semiconductor development in this post, we describe in broad terms the creation of the well-known wafers; from a small grain of silicon to microchip.
The production process of silicon begins with silica, which is the main chemical compound of silicon. Silica is primarily obtained from quartz, which is a crystalline form of silica found abundantly in the Earth’s crust. Firstly, the silicon feedstock is melted in a high-temperature electric arc furnace. This molten silicon then undergoes purification to remove impurities, ensuring a high level of purity. Once purified, the molten silicon is carefully poured into a mold, often made of graphite, and allowed to cool and solidify. Controlled crystal growth takes place during this cooling process, resulting in the formation of a single crystal structure within the ingot. After solidification, the silicon ingot undergoes annealing, a process of heating and holding the ingot at a specific temperature. This annealing helps relieve internal stresses and improves the structural integrity of the ingot. The annealed ingot is then sliced into thin wafers using diamond saws. These wafers are meticulously polished to achieve a smooth and flat surface, ready for further processing. To create specific electronic properties, the wafers undergo a doping process where impurities are introduced into specific regions of the silicon crystal lattice. This doping alters the conductivity and electrical characteristics of the silicon, making it suitable for various applications.
Although Top Seiko is not directly involved in this process, it is important to maintain high precision during the first stage of wafer creation in order to be able to ensure excellent quality in subsequent processes.
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