In the world of technology, microchips are the hidden power that run devices, drive technologies and build businesses.
Dreams of modern-day scientists, designs of corporations and ambitions of countries are fueled by microchips — those wafers no bigger than a human’s nail. From major action plans to dominate artificial intelligence to running world’s fastest supercomputers to powering IoT to improving healthcare… there’s no escaping microchips in the modern world.
Ever wonder how silicon microchips are made? What makes these wafers to powerful? Why is there so much power struggle built behind microchips?
Here’s an infographic that shows the process from mining sand to shipping finished silicon chips.
How silicon microchips are made
Source and mine sand with high quality silicon dioxide deposits from natural sources.
Melt and refine sand to produce 99.9999% pure single-crystal silicon.
Heat the purified Silicon to take it to a molten state. Use a perfectly structured Silicon to seed it.
Molten Silicon forms a bond with the seed and long ingots are drawn out of it.
Saw the ingots into wafers of diameters 200mm or 300mm across.
Clean and polish the wafers for desired quality for the next stage of processing.
Now place a layer of non-conducting silicon dioxide on the silicon wafers.
Next, cover that layer with Photoresist, a photosensitive chemical.
Expose Photoresist to UV light through a mask, hardening the exposed area.
Change the conductive properties by bombarding it with ions — a process called Doping.
Etch away selected material using plasma, which reacts with the part not covered with Photoresist.
Add a layer of insulation and with electroplating, add a layer of copper ions.
Based on the architecture decided, connect them so that chips perform like transistors.
Test the chips for various factors and then package and ship them.