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The synthesis and purification of bulk polycrystalline semiconductor material represents the first step towards the commercial fabrication of an electronic device. This polycrystalline material is then used as the raw material for the formation of single crystal material that is processed to semiconductor wafers. The strong influence on the electric characteristics of a semiconductors exhibited by small amounts of some impurities requires that the bulk raw material be of very high purity (>99.9999%). Although some level of purification is possible during the crystallization process it is important to use as high a purity starting material as possible. While a wide range of substrate materials are available from commercial vendors, silicon and GaAs represent the only large-scale commercial semiconductor substrates, and thus the discussion will be limited to the synthesis and purification of these materials.


Following oxygen (46%), silicon (L. silicis flint) is the most abundant element in the earth's crust (28%). However, silicon does not occur in its elemental form, but as its oxide (SiO 2 ) or as silicates. Sand, quartz, amethyst, agate, flint, and opal are some of the forms in which the oxide appears. Granite, hornblende, asbestos, feldspar, clay and mica, etc. are a few of the numerous silicate minerals. With such boundless supplies of the raw material, the costs associated with the production of bulk silicon is not one of abstraction and conversion of the oxide(s), but of purification of the crude elemental silicon. While 98% elemental silicon, known as metallurgical-grade silicon (MGS), is readily produced on a large scale, the requirements of extreme purity for electronic device fabrication require additional purification steps in order to produce electronic-grade silicon (EGS). Electronic-grade silicon is also known as semiconductor-grade silicon (SGS). In order for the purity levels to be acceptable for subsequent crystal growth and device fabrication, EGS must have carbon and oxygen impurity levels less than a few parts per million (ppm), and metal impurities at the parts per billion (ppb) range or lower. [link] and [link] give typical impurity concentrations in MGS and EGS, respectively. Besides the purity, the production cost and the specifications must meet the industry desires.

Typical impurity concentrations found in metallurgical-grade silicon (MGS).
Element Concentration (ppm) Element Concentration (ppm)
aluminum 1000-4350 manganese 50-120
boron 40-60 molybdenum <20
calcium 245-500 nickel 10-105
chromium 50-200 phosphorus 20-50
copper 15-45 titanium 140-300
iron 1550-6500 vanadium 50-250
magnesium 10-50 zirconium 20
Typical impurity concentrations found in electronic-grade silicon (EGS).
Element Concentration (ppb) Element Concentration (ppb)
arsenic <0.001 gold <0.00001
antimony <0.001 iron 0.1-1.0
boron ≤ 0.1 nickel 0.1-0.5
carbon 100-1000 oxygen 100-400
chromium <0.01 phosphorus ≤ 0.3
cobalt 0.001 silver 0.001
copper 0.1 zinc <0.1

Metallurgical-grade silicon (mgs)

The typical source material for commercial production of elemental silicon is quartzite gravel; a relatively pure form of sand (SiO 2 ). The first step in the synthesis of silicon is the melting and reduction of the silica in a submerged-electrode arc furnace. An example of which is shown schematically in [link] , along with the appropriate chemical reactions. A mixture of quartzite gravel and carbon are heated to high temperatures (ca. 1800 °C) in the furnace. The carbon bed consists of a mixture of coal, coke, and wood chips. The latter providing the necessary porosity such that the gases created during the reaction (SiO and CO) are able to flow through the bed.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of electronic materials. OpenStax CNX. Aug 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10719/1.9
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