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What is a Silicon Wafer?
- Jan 09, 2019 -

Silicon is a gray, brittle, tetravalent, chemical element. It makes up 27.8% of the earth’s crust and next to oxygen, it is the most abundant element in nature. Some of the most common materials that contain silicon are quartz, agate, flint, and common beach sand, among others. It is the main component in building materials like cement, brick and glass. Silicon is also the most common material to build semiconductors and microchips with. Ironically, silicon by itself does not conduct electricity very well; however, it can take on dopants precisely in order to control resistivity to an exact specification.

Before a semiconductor can be built, silicon must turn into a wafer. This begins with the growth of a silicon ingot. A single silicon crystal consists of atoms arranged in a three-dimensional periodic pattern that extends throughout the material. A polysilicon crystal is formed by many small single crystals with different orientations, which alone, cannot be used for semiconductor devices.