Materials Science and Engineering: Semiconductors
Silicon, a semiconductor, is used to fabricate computer chips. Dozens or even hundreds of chips are produced at once on a silicon wafer like the one above. The chips are then cut apart and installed in computers and other electronic devices.
Computer chips and other devices are constructed in clean rooms, which have a precisely-controlled atmosphere and require workers to wear anything from basic coverings to a full "bunny suit" to keep out dust, hair, or other foreign material that could contaminate the manufacturing process. Students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering may have the opportunity to take a class or perform research in one of several clean rooms, including the FabLab (shown above).
Semiconductors are not as effective conductors as metals such as gold, silver and copper. However, they have higher mobilities at room temperature and higher temperatures. This means that an electrical current can travel through them much faster.
Making Memory for Your Memories
Have you ever wondered how the SD card in your camera is made? Check out this behind-the-scenes look at Lexar® memory chip production in this video by Micron Technology, Inc.
Back to: Polymers
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