A silicon wafer is a thin slice of silicon crystals that can be altered to be used in different types of electronics because silicon is a high quality semiconductor. Wafers are created by a lab-grown crystal growing process. The desired resulting wafer can be obtained by controlling various levels of purity, which can be used for various types of electronics. Silicon wafers are available in various sizes for different applications and can be processed in specialized ways. They are mainly used in the fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs), photoelectric cells, and other micro-devices.
One of the main drivers of the silicon market is the expansion by semiconductor manufacturers of their manufacturing capacities to meet the ever-growing demand of technologically advancing electronic devices and gadgets. Moreover, owing to their very small size, low weight, high reliability, low power consumption, and easy replacement, they are widely used in automotive controls, daily electronics such as calculators and laptops, solar cells, ship equipments and space craft’s among others. Also, due to an increase in the disposable incomes of consumers in developing regions of Asia-Pacific, there is a high demand for advanced technological gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, and computers.
The production of silicon wafers is a potential environmental threat, as some of the byproducts released are hazardous. It is also a lengthy process, which increases the production cost. Moreover, recycling of silicon wafers also poses a problem due to the costly components involved in recycling. Also, silicon wafers are being replaced by silicon thin films since the latter are lighter, less bulky, and more economically viable in terms of production and usage. With the advancement of technology in applications such as high speed cars, televisions, computers, and phones, there has been a growing demand for silicon wafers, as they are an essential part of the electronic circuit. In addition to this, silicon wafers are now being used in other applications such as military intelligence.
Some of the key manufacturers of silicon wafers include Shin-Etsu Handotai Co. Ltd., MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., LG Siltron Inc., Siltronic AG, Renewable Energy Corporation and SUMCO Corp. among others.
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