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G2 Glossary of Industry Related Terms                                 Return to Main Menu
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Alloying: The process of forming a low-resistance contact between the aluminum metal and silicon substrate on a metallized semiconductor wafer.

Annealing: The process of combining hydrogen with uncommitted atoms at or near the silicon-silicon dioxide interface on a metallized semiconductor wafer.

Ashing: The process of removing photoresist from a substrate by oxidation.

Automatic Test Equipment: Automatic test equipment (ATE) is computer-controlled equipment that tests electronic devices for functionality and performance. Automatic test equipment also tests electronic systems and primary chips.


Backlapping: The process of mechanically thinning the backside of a finished semiconductor wafer.

Backside metallization: The process of depositing a metal layer on the backside of a finished wafer.


Chemical Mechanical Planarization: Chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) uses chemical reactions to polish the surfaces of wafers and films. Chemical mechanical planarization is a process used in semiconductor fabrication.

Chip: The final integrated semiconductor circuit.

Chip-on-Board: Chip-on-Board (COB) refers to the process of where a semiconductor dice is mounted onto a PC board to connect with other circuits. Chip-on-board approaches include wire-bonded and tape automated bonding. COB’s are coated with a potting material called epoxy.

Clean Room: A clean room is a enclosed clean space in which semiconductor manufacturing takes place. Airborne particles are reduced to technically feasible minimum, temperature and humidity of ambient air are also strictly controlled.

Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor: Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) is a semiconductor process used to manufacture microchips. Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor stores information such as system times and system settings for computers.

Crystal pulling: The process of forming a crystal ingot; a seed crystal of silicon is attached to a rod and "pulled" out of a silicon melt to form an ingot.

Czochralski method: The crystal pulling method used to form crystal ingots.

Chemical vapor deposition: The process of applying a thin film to a substrate using a controlled chemical reaction.


Deionized Water: Deionized Water (DI Water) is the process that is used in semiconductor manufacturing, where negative ions of dissolved minerals are removed. The process of deionized water is used because the filtered water kills microorganisms.

Deposition: A general term used to describe the addition of material layers on a semiconductor wafer.

Die: An individual device or chip cut from a semiconductor wafer.

Diffusion: A doping process; a high-temperature furnace is used to diffuse an applied layer of dopant into the wafer surface.

Digital Signal Processor: A Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is a CPU that is dedicated to a single group of tasks and is embedded into another piece of equipment. They can perform ultra fast math functions, and work by turning analog source data into digital, performing the calculations, and then outputting in analog again. They are used in calculators, fax machines and mobile phones.

Doping: The process of introducing impurity elements (dopants) into a semiconductor wafer to form regions of differing electrical conductivity. The two most common doping processes are diffusion and ion implantation.


Epitaxial: Epitaxial is the process of depositing very thin layers of semiconductor materials onto the surface of a single crystal substrate on which they are grown.

Epitaxy: A specific chemical vapor deposition process used to form a thin elemental crystal layer on top of an identical substrate crystal.

Etching: The process of removing silicon dioxide layers, accomplished by "wet etching" with chemicals or by "dry etching" with ionized gases.

Evaporation: A process used to deposit conducting metal layers on a substrate. Heat is used to evaporate a metal source which then condenses on the cooler wafer surface.


Field Effect Transistors: The field effect transistor (FET) is a three terminal semiconductor transistor that builds integrated circuits used for weak-signal amplification. Field effect transistors control the shape of a semiconductor material.

Field Programmable Gate Array: A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a gate array where the logic network can be programmed after it has been manufactured.




Immersion Lithography: Immersion Lithography is a technique in which space between the final projection optic lens and the wafer in the exposure tool is filled with water.

Inductively Coupled Plasma: Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) is a technique used for analysing most elements of the periodic table over a wide range of concentrations.

Ingot: A polycrystalline silicon cylinder formed by crystal pulling.

Ion implantation: A doping process; the dopant material is ionized and magnetically accelerated to strike the wafer surface, thereby embedding the dopant into the substrate.


Joint Electronic Device Engineering Council: The Joint Electronic Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) is the standardisation body for the semiconductor industry. It is part of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), which represents all of the electronics industry.



Lapping: The process of mechanically grinding the surface of a sliced wafer.

Lead frame: The die attachment surface and lead attachment points that a die or chip is attached to prior to wire bonding and packaging.

Lithography: Lithography is a method of printing and is also known as planographic printing. The process involves drawing onto a stone slab or aluminium plate with wax or oil crayon, then the stone is wetted and oil-based ink washed across it. Where the wax is, the water is repelled and the ink stays. Paper is then laid over the stone and the pattern is printed.


Magnetron: Magnetron is a radar transmitter tube, that’s generates microwaves. Magnetron produces high-power outputs required in radar applications.

Mass Flow Controller: Mass flow controllers manage the flow rate of gas entering and exiting a process chamber. They are usually available in either analog or digital forms.

Metal Organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy: Metal Organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy (MOVPE) is a method of creating controllable epitaxial layered structures by atomic deposition over a substrate material. A substrate wafer is placed on a graphite susceptor and heated in a reaction vessel. Compounds are grown in a hydrogen atmosphere and then form epitaxial layers on the substrate as they decompose.

Metrology: Metrology is the science of measurement. In the semiconductor industry, typical measurements include CD, overlay and film thickness.

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems: A micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) is a technology, which integrates mechanical device, sensors, valves, gears, mirrors which are embedded in semiconductor chips.

Microelectronics: Microelectronics is a circuit that contains millions of transistors that deal with miniature components. These devices are made from semiconductors using a process known as photolithography.

Microprocessor: The microprocessor is the Central Processing Unit (CPU) fabricated on one or more chips, containing the basic elements of a computer, including logic and control, that are needed to process data.



Optical Pyrometer: Optical pyrometers are non-contact temperature measurement devices. They work by using the human eye to match the brightness of a hot object to the brightness of a calibrated lamp inside the device.

Optical Thermometer: Optical thermometers allow for very accurate and quick measurement of the surface temperature of silicon wafers. Thermal detectors are used to measure the infrared radiation of an object's surface.

Optoelectronic: Optoelectronics is the branch of physics that studies the mutual conversion of electricity and light energy.

Organometallic: Organometallic is a term used in relation to organic compounds that contain a metal, particularly compounds in which the metal atom has a direct bond with a carbon atom.

Oxidation: The process of oxidizing the wafer surface to form a thin layer of silicon dioxide.


Passivation: The process of applying a final passivating or protective layer of either silicon nitride or silicon dioxide to a wafer.

Photo Etching: Photo etching is a process used in the creation of integrated circuits, that combines photolithography with the etching process. Photolithography is used to form patterns on semiconductor substrates coated with photoresist, resulting in selective developing of the photo-resist, when exposed to ultra-violet light through a photomask. The substrate is then etched, during which process the developed photoresist serves as a barrier against the etchant, resulting in only the selected area being etched.

Photolithography: Photolithography is photographic process that is used in the manafacture of computer chips and other micro-electro-mechnical systems. Photolithography uses beams of light, projected through a reticle onto a silicon wafer, covered with a photosensitive material, thereby etching a circuit into the semiconductor wafer.

Photomask: A mask that delineates the pattern applied to a substrate during photolithography.

Photoresist: A photosensitive material applied to a wafer and exposed to a device pattern during photolithography.

Plasma: Plasma is a gas with roughly equal numbers of positive and negatively charged particles and is produced when the atoms in the gas are ionized. The plasma conducts electricity. Plasma generators are often used in semiconductor manufacturing.

Plasma Etch: Plasma etching is a process in the manufacture of silicon-based integrated circuits. It is used to remove thin layers of the circuits to produce high resolution patterns, on which the circuits are built.

Polycrystalline silicon: An amorphous form of silicon with randomly oriented crystals, used to produce silicon ingots.


Quartzite: Silica sand used as a raw material to produce metallurgical grade silicon.


Reactive ion etching: An etching process that uses physical sputtering and chemically reactive species to remove metal layers.


Scanning Electron Microscope: Scanning electron microscope (SEM) is an electron-beam-based microscope that uses electrons to produce high-resolution three dimension images of specimens.

Semiconductor: A semiconductor is a substance or material that conducts electricity better than an insulator but not as well as a conductor. Examples of semiconductors include silicon and germanium.

Semiconductor Assembly: Semiconductor assembly is the process in which a fully processed semiconductor device/circuit chip is mechanically and electrically connected to the package.

Semiconductor device fabrication: The process used to create the integrated circuits (silicon chips) that are present in everyday electrical and electronic devices. It is a multiple-step sequence of photographic and chemical processing steps during which electronic circuits are gradually created on a wafer made of pure semiconducting material.

Silicon on Insulator: Silicon on insulator (SOI) is a semiconductor wafer technology. SOI is a fabrication technique that uses pure crystal silicon and silicon oxide for integrated circuits and microchips. Silicon on insulator allow for process performance and lower power leakage to be improved.

Silicon: A semimetallic element used to create a wafer and is the most commonly used semiconductor material today, along with various compound semiconductors.

Silicon Wafer: A silicon wafer is a thin, circular slice of single-crystal semiconductor material used in manufacturing of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits.

Silyation: The process of introducing silicon atoms into the surface of an organic photoresist in order to harden the photoresist.

Sputtering: Sputtering is a process used to deposit a very thin film onto a substrate whilst in a vacuum. A high voltage is passed across low pressure gas to create a plasma of electrons and ions in a high energy state. The ions hit a target of the desired coating material and cause atoms from that material to be ejected and bond with the substrate.

Stainless Steel: In metallurgy stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5[1] or 11% chromium content by mass. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it stains less, but it is not stain-proof). It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime. Stainless steel is used where the properties of steel, and resistance to corrosion are required. Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Carbon steel rusts when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure.

Substrate: Substrate refers the base or supporting materials to which additionallayers or materials are applied. The substrate is part of the wafer from which dies are cut, and is the circuits electrical grounding. Semiconductor substrates are usually made from silicon, but are occasionally made from sapphire, for use where radiation resistance is important, such as military applications.


Thermocouple: A thermocouple is a device that is used to measure temperature via the contact between two dissimilar metallic electrical conductors. The two metals are connected together at two points, and to voltage measuring equipment at the junctions. When one junction is hotter than the other, it produces a thermal electromotive force, that is proportionate to the temperature difference at the junctions.

Transmission Electron Microscope: Transmission Electron microscopes (TEM) use a beam of highly energetic electrons to examine objects very closely, on a fine scale. A TEM shines a beam of electrons through an object and the transmitted result is projected onto a phosphor screen.



Voltammetry: Voltammetry is a kind of electrochemical measurement. The technique can be used to study the redox (oxidation reduction) of extremely small amounts of chemicals.


Wafer: A silicon disc used to form the substrate of a semiconductor device.

Wafer Fabrication: Wafer fabrication is the process of building integrated circuits on wafer shaped slices for semiconductor materials. Wafer fabrication involves high and sophisticated technology, which generates high value-added activities.

Wafer Grinding: Semiconductor wafers are thinned to aid the sawing operation and lower thermal resistance. Grinding the wafer also allows for thinner, and therefore smaller Integrated Circuits (IC) to be manufactured.