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Orientation is defined by the Miller index with (100) or (111) faces being the most common for silicon. Silicon has an orientation
to determine the wafers properties when measured in different directions or anisotropic.
Cleaving a wafer to determine a wafer's orientation is an easy way to determine the silicon's crystal direction.
So if you buy silicon wafers and lose the specification sheet, you can sacrifice a wafer to determine it's orientation!
If you have silicon wafers and you are not sure of the orientations then you can actually use a hammer and nail to find out! A Silicon Wafer's flat location should be enough to determine orientation. But ocassionaly the flats are not representative of the silicon orientation.
Below is an image of what happens to two wafers when a hammer hits a nail at the wafer's center. On the left are (100) oriented Si wafer. When struck the wafer split into four equal parts. If you then do the same to the pieces, those pieces will also split into four pieces. Usinb (100) oriented silicon wafers is more efficient for making integrated circuits (IC).
The wafer on the right are (111). That wafer shatters into many different pieces. Thus this is an easy way to find out the orientation of your silicon wafer cassette.
The orientation of the silicon happens during the silicon wafer manufacturing process while the silicon is in the crystal boule.