How to Manufacture Mobile Phone Chips

How to Manufacture Mobile Phone Chips

The mobile phone chip is the core component of a smart phone, which realizes various functions by integrating a processor, memory and other necessary circuits. Manufacturing a mobile phone chip needs to go through multiple steps. Let's take a look at the steps that are required.


The deposition step starts with the wafer, which is cut from a 99.99% silicon ingot and polished to be extremely smooth, and then deposits a thin film of conductor, insulator, or semiconducting material onto the wafer, so that it can be used in The first layer is printed on top. This important step is often referred to as "deposition".

As chips get smaller, printing patterns on wafers becomes more complex. Advances in deposition, etching, and lithography are key to making chips smaller and smaller and thus driving Moore's Law to continue.

2.Photoresist Coating

After deposition, the wafer is then coated with a light-sensitive material called "photoresist," which comes in two varieties -- "positive-tone" and "negative-tone." The main difference between positive and negative working photoresists is the chemical structure of the material and how the photoresist reacts to light. With a positive photoresist, the areas exposed to UV light change the structure, becoming more soluble and ready for etching and deposition. Negative-tone photoresists do the opposite, and the areas exposed to light polymerize, which makes them more difficult to dissolve.


Photolithography is the most critical technology for making chips, which determines how small transistors on a chip can be made. At this stage, the wafer is placed in a photolithography machine and exposed to deep ultraviolet (DUV) light. In many cases, their fineness is thousands of times smaller than a grain of sand.

The light emitted by the photolithography machine is used to expose the film coated with photoresist through the photomask with patterns. This is lithography, and the process is similar to taking pictures with a camera. The photo taken by the camera is printed on the negative, and the lithography does not print the photo but the circuit diagram and other electronic components.


The next step in photolithography is to remove the degraded photoresist to reveal the desired pattern. During "etching," the wafer is baked and developed, and some of the photoresist is washed away, revealing a 3D pattern of open channels. The etching process must precisely and consistently form conductive features without compromising the overall integrity and stability of the chip structure.

Like photoresist, etching is also divided into two category "dry etching" and "wet etching". Dry etching uses gases to define the exposed pattern on the wafer. Wet etching chemically cleans the wafer. A chip has dozens of layers, so etching must be carefully controlled so as not to damage the bottom layer of the multilayer chip structure.

5.Ion implantation

Once the pattern is etched on the wafer, the wafer is hit with positive or negative ions to adjust the conductive properties of parts of the pattern. Raw silicon is the material of the wafer and it is not a perfect insulator, nor is it a perfect conductor, and the conductivity of silicon is between the two.

Directing ions into the silicon crystal so that the flow of electricity can be controlled to create the electronic switches that are the basic building blocks of the chip -- the transistor -- is "ionization," also known as "ion implantation." After this layer is ionized, the remaining photoresist which is used to protect the unetched areas will be removed.


Manufacturing chips on a wafer requires thousands of processes. To remove the chips from the wafer, they are sliced into individual chips using a diamond saw. These chipsare cut from 12-inch wafers, the most common size used in semiconductor manufacturing, and because chips vary in size, some wafers can contain several Thousands of chips, while others contain only a few dozen.

The steps involved in semiconductor manufacturing are far more than these. Chips have to go through more steps such as measurement inspection, electroplating, and testing. Each chip has to go through hundreds of such processes before it becomes a part of an electronic device.

Chips are only the size of your thumb, but a chip can contain billions of transistors. For example, Apple's A15 Bionic chip contains 15 billion transistors and can perform 15.8 trillion operations per second. After all the steps, the product carrying the chip comes to you, and now it (the chip) is already part of your mobile phone, computer and other electronic products.

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