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Silicon wafers are the predominant conductor in semiconductor applications. This is because they’re not only inexpensive to produce, but can be modified to enhance whichever job they need to perform. A lot of everyday devices use Si wafers that you may not be aware of, and you also may not realize the intricate details that go along with their history and microfabrication process. For specific answers regarding your personal research, experiments, or lab setup always contact a reliable professional. For a quick intro guide to Silicon Wafers continue reading below...
Silicon wafers were first experimented with in the 1950s by an Egyptian-American engineer. When a layer of SiO2 coated a silicon wafer it allowed electricity to permeate the conductive layer and create surface passivation. It wasn’t until 1954 that silicon wafers would be available commercially.
Silicon is the 2nd most common element on Earth (after Oxygen) and SiO2 is found incredibly commonly in the Earth’s crust. It also comes in 7th in the list of most common elements of our entire universe.
Silicon has properties that are between a metal and nonmetal. It’s conductive only under specific conditions which is why Si and other compounds in the metalloid family are perfect for manufacturing various conductors.
Silicon needs to have a purity level of 99.9999999% to be used in wafers for semiconductors. Only 1 in 1million of the atoms cannot be silicon. Silicon Wafers are also comprised of topshelf pure sand from Australia - but is expertly chosen and evaluated by professionals so no sand-side-hustles here.
Silicon wafers are only as thick as the mechanical strength used to make them. A silicon wafer needs to be thin enough to perform its task, but not too thick to cause cracking or damage. Most silicon wafer suppliers will only allow you to make orders in bulk because quoting individual wafers can be time consuming. Only a select few suppliers will let you order wafers in any amount regardless how big or small your requirements are.
If silicon wafers have unwanted particles or are damaged they can be cleaned with a weak acid that won’t damage substrates. Silicon wafers for solar cells or photoresist can be etched with either a wet or dry method. This will create a textured surface for improved conductivity.
Over time Silicon Wafers will become contaminated and degrade without proper storage. They can either be vacuum sealed or stored in an N2 cabinet with a flow rate of 2-6 standard cubic feet per hour.