Semiconductor device fabrication

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Semiconductor device fabrication is the process used to create the integrated circuits (silicon chips) that are present in everyday electrical and electronic devices. It is a multiple-step sequence of photographic and chemical processing steps during which electronic circuits are gradually created on a wafer made of pure semiconducting material. Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor material today, along with various compound semiconductors.

The entire manufacturing process, from start to packaged chips ready for shipment, takes six to eight weeks and is performed in highly specialized facilities referred to as fabs.

Contents

History

When feature widths were far greater than about 10 micrometres, purity was not the issue that it is today in device manufacturing. As devices became more integrated, cleanrooms became even cleaner. Today, the fabs are pressurized with filtered air to remove even the smallest particles, which could come to rest on the wafers and contribute to defects. The workers in a semiconductor fabrication facility are required to wear cleanroom suits to protect the devices from human contamination.

In an effort to increase profits, semiconductor device manufacturing has spread from Texas and California in the 1960s to the rest of the world, such as Europe, Israel, and Asia. It is a global business today.

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