You may have seen pictures of computers from 50 years ago. Most of them were the size of a room. It was only through the manufacture of silicon microchips that circuit boards could be reduced considerably and are commonly used in your cell phone or tablet computer. This, combined with being able to complete wire bonding on extremely small silicon chips to connect them to semiconductor devices, have been some of the greatest advancements of the past few decades.
How Computers Have Changed
After changing from vacuum tubes as part of their circuit design, they were replaced by transistors inside computers. This required a semiconductor material. The early transistors using geranium were replaced by silicone as the semiconductor chosen by computer design experts.
To connect silicon chips and semiconductor devices, wire bonding is the process used to pass electricity between the two. The wires can be a small as 1000th of an inch. The professional manufacturer will use heat, pressure and force to attach the wire from one bond pad to another. This is why wire bonding is often used within microelectronics and other very small devices. It has become an industry skill by itself.
Mass production of computers could only go forward when forward thinking advancements created the process of etching integrated circuit boards, which led to a reduction in size for all the circuit boards within computers.
The Silicon We Know Today
Ultraviolet light, which is high powered, is used to etch computer chips. A photosensitive film is placed on an extremely thin silicon wafer. Through layers of wafers, each contains a variety of electrical properties, depending upon the needs of the computer’s design.
Although silicon chips have been around since 1961, it is a natural semiconductor that has revolutionized both integrated circuit boards and therefore, computers in recent years.
Silicon chips are used within many diagnostic machines that the medical industry uses today. The chips will be a major contributor to moving the search in space towards Mars. Without them your MP3 player would not work and your television would not be as flat as it is in modern times.
Modern computer silicon chips are now powerful microprocessors and for many it could be said that they are one of the greatest inventions among modern technology. Silicon wafers built as silicon chips are becoming so small that the computer that once filled an entire room can now be held on the tip of your finger.