Types Of Silicon Wafers and Their ApplicationsNovember 1, 2017
Silicon wafers are one of an essential component in almost every modern electronic or consumer item. The contemporary society uses it in varied forms for numerous applications.
What is a Silicon Wafer?
A silicon wafer is the thinly sliced piece of pure crystal. Silicon, being the 2nd most common element on earth is a commonly used semiconductor. There are various methods for processing silicon into wafers. The most popular ones include the Czochralski (Cz) pulling method and the Float Zone (FZ) growth method. The CZ method involves typically fabricating silicon wafers from a single crystalline structure for optimum purity. Using the FZ growth method, the silicon wafers are also highly pure and form the fundamental base for electronic circuitry in many electronics and other technology products and applications.
How are Silicon Wafers made?
Silicon wafers are made using the famous Cz method mostly. Aforementioned involves pulling a ‘seed’ crystal from the melting process. A pure crystalline silicon cylinder grew in this way. Once the entire cylinder formed from the single silicon crystal, the wafers are extracted using the ‘wire-cutting’ technique. Very tiny and thin slices of crystalline silicon sliced from the cylinder.
The thickness and diameter of the silicon wafers can be ordered according to your requirements today. You can choose silicon wafers in diameter, ranging from less than 1 mm to more than 450 mm.
Are there different types of Silicon Wafers?
There are mainly two varieties of silicon wafers in use commonly today. These are:
- Undoped silicon wafer
- Doped silicon wafer
Undoped silicon wafer
The undoped silicon wafer is a purely crystalline form of silicon. That is an ideal semiconductor and also called as an ‘intrinsic silicon wafer’.
Doped silicon wafer
The doped silicon wafer fabricated by adding certain impurities (dopants) in the silicon crystal during its formation. The doping is done by either adding boron to get a P-type material. Adding other elements, including arsenic, antimony and phosphorous, helps to fabricate N-type of doped silicon wafer. The P-type silicon wafer has several positively-charged holes, whereas, the N-type silicon wafer has negatively-charged electron in it.
The level of dopant in the silicon wafer will further define it as:
- Extrinsic – It has tiny to moderate amounts of dopants in the silicon crystal.
- Degenerate – This silicon wafer has high levels of dopants in it.
The doping process is essential to integrate and alter the electrical properties of the silicon wafer. These doped silicon wafers, increasingly demanded by the research and development (R&D) industries.
What are the applications of Silicon Wafers?
There are numerous applications that silicon wafers have in today’s modern world. The vast numbers of electronic types of equipment in use, from mobile phones to airplanes, use this fantastic semi-conductor, mainly in their electronic circuitry.
These are the numerous applications of silicon wafers:
- Manufacturing of semiconductors
- Laptops and Desktop computers
- Mobile smartphones, tablet-phones, and other wearable smart gadgets
- Home appliances
- Solar cell R&D and manufacturing
- Automobiles, aerospace and drone technology
- AI (Artificial Intelligence)
- ICs (Integrated Circuits)
- Thin-film depositing process
- Calibrating instruments
- High-power applications (detectors and sensor devices)
- MEMS fabrication
- Transistors, diodes, and rectifiers
- Opto-Electronic components
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