Die (integrated circuit)

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Magnified view of an integrated circuit die from a transceiver, used in handheld communication devices.

A die (pronunciation: /daɪ/) in the context of integrated circuits is a small block of semiconducting material, on which a given functional circuit is fabricated. Typically, integrated circuits are produced in large batches on a single wafer of electronic-grade silicon (EGS) or other semiconductor (such as GaAs) through processes such as photolithography. The wafer is cut (“diced”) into many pieces, each containing one copy of the circuit, each of these pieces is called a die.

To simplify handling and integration onto a printed circuit board, most dice are packaged in various forms.

There are three commonly used plural forms: dice, dies, and die.[1][2]

Manufacturing process[edit]

An Integrated Circuit Die (ICD) is made up of different elements, including sand and silicon [3]. All the elements are combined to create a Mono-crystal Silicon Ingot, these ingots are then sliced into disks with a diameter of ~300mm. These wafers are then polished to a mirror finish before going through photolithography, the prepared wafers are then washed and go through ion implantation. They then go through an electroplating process involving copper, which creates the physical transistors within the die, the excess copper is then washed off to make way for the many metal layers. The metal layers are used to connect the various transistors within the die to each other, allowing them to make one coherent processing unit, these prepared wafers then go through wafer testing to test their functionality. The wafers are then sliced and sorted to filter out the faulty dies, the remaining dies are then placed on a substrate and are usually topped with a heat spreader. Once this process is complete, the completed die is ready to be shipped.

Uses[edit]

An ICD can be integrated into many different use cases, the most common use case of an ICD is in the form of a Central Processing Unit (CPU). Through advances in modern technology, the size of the transistor within the die has shrunk exponentially, following Moore's Law. Currently, Intel has the most advanced manufacturing process, allowing for transistors as small as 10nm [4]. Other uses for ICDs can range from light fixtures to complex multi-core processing operations.


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See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John E. Ayers (2004). Digital Integrated Circuits. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-1951-X. Archived from the original on 2017-01-31. 
  2. ^ Robert Allen Meyers (2000). Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-226930-6. Archived from the original on 2017-01-31. 
  3. ^ From Sand to Silicon “Making of a Chip” Illustrations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://download.intel.com/pressroom/kits/chipmaking/Making_of_a_Chip.pdf
  4. ^ Courtland, R. (2017, March 30). Intel Now Packs 100 Million Transistors in Each Square Millimeter. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/processors/intel-now-packs-100-million-transistors-in-each-square-millimeter

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