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Semiconductors are a part of many household products, but few know how they are produced.
The semiconductor is one of the most important components of the 21st century. Semiconductors are a part of almost every facet of life, from our computers to our microwaves and many applications in-between. The process of creating the semiconductor involves PVD coating to lay the base layer of the chip and make it capable of conducting electricity.
Silicon comes from sand, one of the most prevalent elements on the planet. The sand is refined to 100% purity before it is heated. The extreme temperatures melt the sand, and a silicon mold called a “seed” is lowered onto the molten substance. As the chip cools, the substance forms a perfect cast of the seed called an “ingot.” This ingot is then carefully sawed into thin strips.
Finishing the Chip
Silicon is a highly conductive material, one of the reasons it is the base ingredient in a microchip or semiconductor. It also helps that silicon has an interesting property that allows selective transition of electricity, like an on/off switch. In order to achieve those characteristics, the chip is subjected to a process called vacuum metallization. This process results in a layer of circuitry that is laid onto the ingot/substrate. First, a photolithographic layer is applied to the circuit board. A machine then reads the board and trims anything that is not recognized as part of that layer.
When metallization occurs, the photolithographic layer is what guides the circuitry. The end result is a conductive chip that can be cut down with a die-cutter to fit any shape. The chip is then packaged and sold to consumers.