A Faster Chip
The lead guitarist rips off a series of sixteenth notes in his solo while the drummer maintains the beat and the bass guitarist weaves a rhythm around the melody. The massive amps used to magnify the sound have one old-fashioned component in them: the vacuum tube. In a day where computer chips, miniaturization and solid-state electronics are standard, the vacuum tube provides a fuller, more “complete” sound for the guitar.
Amazing But True
- A successful computer chip begins with a very simple substance – sand. No, you can’t just scoop up some sand from the beach and hope to make a chip. Silicon can be obtained from quartz, but mainly sand is the main raw material. A process called zone refining moves the silicon through an apparatus at 1600°C, causing the impurities to migrate to one end of the crystal, where they can be cut off and discarded.
- The bulk silicon is then cut into wafers about one millimeter thick and up to 300 mm in diameter. These wafers are then carefully polished. A complex pattern is drawn on the wafer, and then the wafer is “doped” to add specific cations or anions, depending on the function planned for that component.
- At this point, the wafer then has components added to build the computer chip. A single wafer may have enough material to produce several hundred memory chips. Processor chips are much more complex, so an individual wafer may only furnish 10-50 of these chips.
- Watch a video about the construction of a computer chip at the link below:
Can You Apply It?
Use the links below to learn more about computer chips. Then answer the following questions.
- How pure does silicon need to be for electronic work?
- What happens to silicon when it freezes?
- What is the principle behind the graphene computer chip?
- What element has the possibility of replacing silicon for chips?
- What advantage would a carbon nanotube chip have over a silicon chip?