How is the chip made?

Jul 15,2021

Chips are made in hundreds of steps, and it can take up to four months from design to production. In the factory's clean room, precious wafers are transported by mechanical means, with air quality and temperature tightly controlled throughout.


The key process of chip manufacturing (10 steps)


Deposition

The first step in making a chip is usually to deposit a thin film of material onto a wafer. Possiblely, the material is a conductor, an insulator, or a semiconductor.


Photoresist coating

Before photolithography, first in the wafer coating photosensitive material "Photoresist”or "Photoresist", and then into the wafer lithography machine


Exposure

Inside the lithography machine, lightis projected onto the wafer through the reticle containing the blueprint of the pattern to be printed. The system's optics shrink and focus the pattern onto the resist. Where light hits the resist, it causes chemical changes, recreating the pattern from the reticle in the resist.


Computational lithography

The physical and chemical effects produced during lithography may cause the pattern distortion, so it is necessary to adjust the pattern on the mask in advance to ensure the accuracy of the final lithography pattern. ASML integrates existing lithography data and wafer test data to make algorithmic models and fine-tune patterns.


Baking & developing

After the wafer leaves the lithography machine, it is baked and developed to make the lithography pattern permanently fixed. Wash away the excess photoresist, leaving an open space of the coating.


Etching

After the development is completed, use gas and other materials to remove excess blank parts, forming a 3D circuit pattern.


Metrology & inspection

Throughout the chip production process, the wafer is measured and inspected for errors. These measurements are fed back to the systems and are used to optimize and stabilize the equipment.


Ion Implantation

Before removing the remaining photoresist, the wafer can be bombarded with either positive or negative ions to adjust the semiconductor properties of some of the patterns.


Repeat as needed

This whole process, from deposition to resist removal, is repeated until the wafer is covered in patterns, completing one layer of thewafer's chips. For an well-manufactured chip,  we have to repeat this process up to 100times, laying patterns on top of patterns for an integrated circuit.

How is the chip made?

Processed wafer

The final step is to cut the wafer, obtain a single chip, and package it in a protective packagings. The chip is now ready for battery powered wireless camera, security camera, thermal imaging camera or other digital device


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