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How Chips Are Made

The images below represent just some of the ingredients used to build microprocessors. Read the description of each image to learn more about important ingredients like silicon, which is fundamental to making microprocessors.
Silicon Silicon Wafers cut from an ingot of pure silicon, are used by Intel to make microprocessors. Silicon, the primary ingredient of beach sand, is a semiconductor of electricity. Semiconductors are materials that can be altered to be either a conductor or an insulator.
Chemicals Chemicals and gases are used throughout the chip-making process. Some, like hexamethyldisilazane, are complex and difficult to pronounce. Others, such as boron, are simple elements found in the Periodic Table of the Elements.
Metals Metals, such as aluminum and copper, are used to conduct the electricity throughout the microprocessor. Gold is also used to connect the actual chip to its package.
Ultraviolet Light Ultraviolet (UV) Light has very short wavelengths and is just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum. UV light is used to expose patterns on the layers of the microprocessor in a process much like photography.
Masks Masks used in the chip-making process are like stencils. When used with UV light, masks create the various circuit patterns on each layer of the microprocessor.

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