While the number of microchip developers worldwide is estimated at hundreds, if not thousands, the executives are “stamped” by only three dozen large companies. And a number of manufacturers charge their factories exclusively through third-party orders without producing anything under their own brand.
Specifics of production Manufacturing microchips is a complex task because it consists of five major steps, each of which involves many small operations. It all starts with the mechanical processing of semiconductor wafers (mostly silicon) that must meet the highest quality standards: proper geometry and crystallographic alignment, and 100% surface cleanliness.
The purity is achieved by careful chemical treatment (wet or gas etching) to remove the damaged semiconductor layer, if any. Cleaned disks can be both blanks for further production and only substrates.
In the second phase, the semiconductor layer (again silicon) is grown by depositing the atoms on the substrate. Thus, a new semiconductor layer is formed which resembles a substrate in its crystalline structure. The grown semiconductor layer is doped for protection against subsequent impurities.
In the fourth phase, contacts and passive elements are formed on the semiconductor wafer. Vacuum spraying of the thinnest metal layer creates traces and by adding oxides of special alloys – resistors and capacitors.
Modern technological standards make it possible to apply additional layers (3D architecture) over the main layer of the semiconductor, after which all the above-mentioned methods are repeated. When all necessary layers and elements are applied to the “wafer”, it is again cleaned of defects and impurities and then dried in a centrifuge or in a thermo cabinet.
In der letzten Phase werden die Halbleiterscheiben mit Sondenköpfen in speziellen Anlagen getestet und dann in einzelne Kristalle geschnitten.
An den Kristallen werden Kontakte befestigt und all das wird zusammen in ein abgedichtetes Gehäuse verpackt. Die Fertigchips werden noch einmal getestet, um zu vermeiden, dass die Fehlstücke in den Verkauf kommen.