When it comes to choosing a material as the basic material for transistors in computers, the key matter we need to consider is resistance. Conductors have very low resistance and can conduct electricity easily; insulators have high resistance and cannot conduct electricity. For transistors, it is necessary to be able to control the switching of the transistor as needed, and we need semiconductors. The resistance of a semiconductor is between that of a conductor and an insulator, which means that it behaves differently under different conditions. The raw material of the chip is a semiconductor wafer. PAM-XIAMEN can supply silicon wafer for integrated circuit chip. In theory, all semiconductors can be used as chip materials, but why silicon materials are most suitable for chips?
The main reasons are as follows:
1) Silicon isn’t the only semiconductor element on earth, or even the best. But it’s important to note that silicon is a very abundant element. Silicon is readily available everywhere on the planet and does not require specific mines;
2) Silicon has stable chemical and physical properties. The earliest transistors were actually made of germanium semiconductor material. However, the conductivity will change greatly when the temperature over 75 °C. After the PN junction is made, the reverse leakage current of germanium is larger than that of silicon. Therefore, silicon is more suitable to use as the chip material;
3) After decades of technological development, the processing technology of silicon has matured, and humans can already produce near-perfect silicon crystals in factories. The purification technology of silicon element is mature and the cost is low. Now the purification of silicon can reach 99.999999999%;
4) The silicon material itself is non-toxic and harmless, so it is one of the important reasons that we select silicon semiconductor wafer as the manufacturing material of the chip.
So silicon deserves to be the foundation of modern computer chips. The silicon crystals produced by the factory are then sliced into wafers, and then processed through etching and other processes to finally make chips that we use. In fact, materials such as carbon and germanium can also be used to produce wafers, but silicon is still in dominant position to obtain the large crystal structures required in large-scale production.