Polycrystalline silicon wafers serve as semiconductors for integrated circuits, solar cells and other electronic devices. These wafers usually range in size from 0.2 to 1.8 millimetres thick and 100 to 300 millimetres in diameter. Due to their minuscule size the necessity for precision cuts, cutting silicon wafers is a process that can only be performed by expensive, high-tech speciality equipment. The industry standard process for cutting silicon wafers involves proprietary 10-ton multi-wire sawing machines.
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Things you need
- Raw polysilicon
- Argon gas
- Proprietary sealed furnace
- Proprietary silicon spinning crucible
- Silicon seed crystal
- X-ray machine
- Silicon crystal testing chemicals
- Proprietary multi-wire silicon sawing machine
Purge a proprietary sealed furnace---part of a specialised silicon wafer assembly line--with argon gas to eliminate any air in the furnace chamber.
Heat the raw polysilicon to over 1371 degrees Celsius in the sealed furnace.
Spin the resulting molten silicon in a proprietary silicon production crucible. These machines rapidly spin molten silicon to form cylindrical silicon crystals.
Lower a silicon seed crystal into the crucible, spinning the seed in the opposite direction as the polysilicon.
Allow the molten polysilicon to cool.
Slowly withdraw the seed crystal at a rate of around 1.5 millimetres per minute with proprietary machinery. This will produce a solid silicon crystal.
Test the crystal with X-rays and specialised chemicals to test its purity and molecular orientation.
Feed the silicon crystal into the proprietary multi-wire sawing machine. These 10-ton industrial machines automatically slice silicon wafers into specified sizes.
Tips and warnings
- Wafers must not have corner cracks and must be able to meet a 125 millipascal strength test.
- After slicing, silicon wafers must be run through a series of proprietary industrial buffers to ensure smoothness.
- No part of the silicon wafer cutting process should be attempted at home. This process requires multimillion dollar automated machinery, dangerous specialised chemicals and a staff of experienced professionals.
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