Silicon wafers are the building blocks of computer chips, circuit boards, and many electrical devices. While silicon is an exceptional material, it has limitations. Given the precise and exacting production standards of the manufacturing industry, it is not uncommon to have many wafers get rejected daily.
That doesn’t mean erroneous batches can never be reused, however. Many polishing companies offer wafer reclaiming services. This is a process that takes off layers of silicon to create a like-new service. This allows the wafers to be used in other projects instead of immediately filling a scrap heap. The wafer reclaiming process has several steps:
- Incoming Inspection
- Stripping and Etching
- In-Process Quality Assurance
- SC1/SC2 Clean Spin/Rinse/Dry
- Visual Inspection
- Final Inspection and Quality Assurance
Polishing companies will accept a batch of rejected wafers and inspect them to determine if they are salvageable. When they have been approved, they go through the procedure. Reclamation uses a combination of polishing and chemical processes to remove old films and etchings. Then, the batch goes through a final inspection before being re-issued for another production run.
Refurbished silicon wafers will be thinner than their new counterparts. However, they can still find use in other applications. When refining your initial production processes at your facility, you may want to consider wafer reclaiming services that can give rejected runs a new purpose.