Science

Semiconductor manufacturing


Semiconductor manufacturing

Growing crystals

High-performance semiconductors consist of monocrystalline silicon - which has to be grown industrially. Experts refer to this process as crystal pulling. In this process, a single silicon crystal is first melted in a controlled atmosphere consisting of the noble gas argon. It is then allowed to solidify back into crystalline form in a controlled manner, forming round, columnar blocks (ingots). This method, known as the Czochralski process, is fast and highly controllable. Cultivated crystals exhibit very high efficiency and quality. The ingots are very finely and precisely cut into slices (wafers), on which integrated circuits (microchips) or solar cells are then manufactured.