Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

This effort is a step towards enabling electronic DIY enthusiasts to make their own semiconductor chips.


Yes, you read the title correctly.

But the high cost of purchasing the necessary equipment is enough to prevent anyone from developing homemade silicon chips. So why bother when you can buy them from the market at a small cost?


Well, there is no doubt that you do need some advanced equipment, including high-temperature ovens, powerful electron microscopes, high-end software for scanning probe microscopes, and so on. But the manufacturing process was very interesting and taught one or two things about the mechanics of semiconductors.


Therefore, please remember the phrase “where there is a will, there is a way”. With a little modification, you can make the wafer at home.


As Zachary Tong shows in a video on his YouTube channel Breaking Taps, he tries to use a process called thermal diffusion to dope silicon wafers with phosphoric acid and near-infrared fibre lasers.


In the absence of a very high-temperature furnace, the doping process with laser is a suitable alternative to transfer the same heat. Simply place the dopant on the wafer and embed it using a precise laser pulse.


However, please note that, in contrast to infrared lasers, ultraviolet lasers are more popular in the case of doping and are widely used in the industry because of their low optical penetration, resulting in less damage to silicon wafers.


Although the results are mixed and imperfect compared with factory-made silicon wafers, the effort paves the way for electronic DIY enthusiasts who want to make their own semiconductors.


The concept of self-made silicon chips sounds fascinating. At first, the result may not be as good as you expected. But with some trial and error, you will eventually make progress and start building custom silicon chips in your backyard.



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