Inside Every Modern Computer O Essay

693 words - 3 pages

Inside every modern computer or other data-processing wonder is a microprocessor bearing millions of transistors sculpted from silicon y chemicals and light. Silicon, the second most abundant element on Earth, is used extensively in transistors, integrated circuits, photoelectric devices, and other electronic devices. A pure crystal of silicon does not conduct electricity unless traces of other substances are diffused or doped onto it. Therefore silicon must be manufactured in a specific way in order for it to yield electrons for a current. All manufacturing of silicon takes place in a "clean room" which is an area where each one foot cube of air must contain fewer than 1000 tiny specks of dust and zero humidity. The temperature is maintained at a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit and all workers have to wear coats, gloves, masks, and overshoes. This is necessary because even one dust particle or water droplet can ruin a batch of chip production. The manufacturing of a silicon chip starts when silica, the main component of sand, is heated with carbon which makes 98 percent pure silicon. This is then dissolved in hydrochloric acid. The resulting liquid is fractionally distilled to separate almost all of the impurities.The remaining liquid is then heated in a hydrogen tmosphere, which produces the purest silicon possible. This silicon, however, is in the form of many crystals of different sizes and orientations. This silicon goes through the Czochralski pulled crystal process in which it is melted in a large crucible into which a probe, tipped with a small seed crystal is immersed. Silicon atoms attach themselves to the seed in perfect alignment with its structure while it is rotated and pulled slowly upward. The seed grows into a three foot long, cylindrical, single crystal. Silicon this pure is hard, dark grey in color and lusterous. The giant crystal of silicon is next ground...

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