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Definition: silicon ingot


A salami-shaped bar of silicon, which is a single crystal, technically known as a "boule." The ingot is the first step in chip making. High-speed saws slice the ingot into "wafers" about the thickness of a dime, which are then ground and polished mirror smooth. The surfaces of the wafer are etched to form all the transistors on all the chips at the same time. The final step is to cut apart the chips and place them into their packages. See wafer, chip package and transistor.




Drawing the Silicon Ingot
An ingot is being drawn from a furnace containing molten silicon. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments, Inc.)






An Ingot Plant
At a Silicon Valley Microelectronics plant, the ingots are "grown" in these cylinders. SVM makes the ingots and slices them into wafers for their customers. (Image courtesy of Silicon Valley Microelectronics, Inc., www.svmi.com)






The Pulled Ingot
This is a finished ingot ready for slicing into wafers. (Image courtesy of Silicon Valley Microelectronics, Inc., www.svmi.com)