Silicon, a blue and gray chemical element falls in the same group as carbon. But brittle, it ranked below oxygen, being the most common element on earth. Silicon is a primary ingredient in materials such as glass, soil, sand and quartz. All silicon wafer suppliers, targeting mass markets will be attracted to its significance in the manufacture of microchips and semiconductors. And lay readers here will already be familiar with the legendary Silicon Valley.
Now, before a semiconductor is built, the silicon needs to be transformed to a wafer. This transformation begins with the growth of the silicon ingot. One silicon crystal is composed of atoms. These are arranged in a three-dimensional periodic pattern. This pattern extends throughout the material. The growth of a silicon ingot takes anywhere from a week to a month. It depends on a number of factors.
These factors will include size, quality and laid down specifications. Most single crystal silicon wafers are grown using the CZ method. The growth develops into chunks. These are placed into a quartz crucible to which are included small quantities of elements known as dopants. These dopants provide the desired electrical properties for a grown ingot. The most widely used dopants include boron, antimony, phosphorus, as well as arsenic.
Collated materials are heated to a temperature that must rise above the melting point of silicon. Once a dopant combination has been turned into liquid form, no more than a single silicon crystal, known as a seed, it rises to the top of the melt but barely reaching the surface. And once conditions for further growth have been met, the seed crystal is lifted slowly out of the melt. Growth begins with the rapid pulling of this seed crystal. It minimizes the number of defects within the seed at the beginning of the growth process.