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Definition: silicon chip from The Penguin Dictionary of Science

A single silicon crystal containing an integrated circuit. ➤chip; microelectronics.


Summary Article: silicon chip
from Philip's Encyclopedia

Small piece of silicon etched to carry many tiny electric circuits. Silicon chips are at the heart of most electronic equipment. Chips are etched, layer by layer, onto slivers of pure silicon. Each layer is 'doped' to give it particular electrical properties, and the combination of different layers form components such as transistors and diodes. See also charge-coupled device (CCD); integrated circuit (IC); printed circuit; semiconductor

silicon chip

A silicon chip is manufactured by building up layers on top of a wafer of silicon (1). (A) First a layer of silicon dioxide (2), an insulator, is laid down followed by photo-sensitive photoresist (3). Photoresist hardens when hit by ultraviolet light (4). By using a mask (5), the area to be hardened can be controlled. (B) The unhardened area shielded by the mask can then be rinsed out with a solvent (6). The photoresist is then removed by hot gases. (C) The same process is used to apply a conducting polysilicon (7). Again ultraviolet light fixes the photoresist (8) in the unmasked area. (D) A solvent removes the photoresist. (E) N-type silicon, which only carries a negative charge, is then created by doping of the silicon base. (F) A third masking process creates shafts (9) to the n-type silicon. (G) An aluminium layer is then applied. (H) A fourth masking forms electrical contacts connecting the layers of silicon. Hundreds of chips are simultaneously made on a single wafer of silicon (10) before they are eventually separated (11) and mounted individually for use.

Copyright © 2007 Philip's

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