Processors – How they are manufactured

On the basic information level, processor can be understood as a machine which capable of processing some data. We all are familiar with the Central Processing Unit or CPU in computers. The CPU is the main processing unit of the computer where all the operations are executed. You won’t believe but the basic processor building process starts with sand. Sand contains high amounts of Si02 i.e. silicon dioxide. This mixture is then purified to obtain pure silicon as a semiconductor. After the silicon semiconductor is obtained, the actual processor building process starts. The silicon is cut into individual silicon slices called as wafers by a process named ingot slicing. The silicon wafer is then evenly coated with a photo resist liquid. After this an ultraviolet laser is shone through masks and UV lines are made on the surface. The photoresist material is then completely dissolved by a chemical solvent and an etching chemical solvent is used to partially dissolve away a tiny quantity of the polished semiconductor material. After all the metal layers and transistor circuits are built up, the chip is tested. The chip is stimulated and tested to observe how it will in the final form. A tiny diamond tipped saw is used to cut the silicon wafer into various smaller parts. The chips which work properly and show results are kept and the rest are discarded. The chip is then checked again and finally packaged. Before making the chip available at the consumer level, a process named binning takes place in which the actual characteristics of the CPU such as frequency, performance, heat generation and other internal operational characteristics are measured. The chip is then made available for commercial use. So this is how the main processing segment is manufactured. The processor is used in used in mostly all the machines where some function needs to be carried out. From the device you are holding to your home PC every device has a processor or a CPU in it. So this is how a particle found in the sand is converted to a power processing chip which can carry out hefty tasks.

Nehanshu Tripathi
Electronics and telecommunication diploma student at St. Xavier’s Technical institute, Mahim.

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