Computer Chips on a Wafer - Chrontel Silicon Wafer, 6", 150mm


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About the Silicon Wafer

This six-inch silicon wafer was made by Chrontel, Inc. in 1994. The wafer has over 2,800 computer chips on it, each 2mm square. These chips are Chrontel CT195s. These chips allowed a personal computer's inside digital world to interface to the real outside analog world. These chips sold for about $7.50 in today's dollars. At 2,800 total chips on the wafer, this wafer would have a about $30,000 value (given 100% yield).

Below are more pictures of the chip on this wafer. The top right picture is a black and white picture of a whole chip. The picture below it is of the area contained in the small red rectangle in the upper picture. This area has circuitry that is similar to the rest of the chip. The yellow lines are traces. Traces are the wires that connect the various part of the circuit together. There are many transistors in the picture but they are difficult to see since they are built in a vertical fashion. This wafer was fabricated with at least ten layers.


About Making Computer Chips

Computer chips start as ordinary sand, which is silicon dioxide. The first step is to melt the sand in a furnace that reaches about 3200o F. The silicon is purified to create 99.9999% pure silicon. The silicon is broken up into chunks and melted in a crucible. A silicon crystal seed is dipped in molten silicon and slowly drawn out to create a silicon cylinder. These silicon cylinders are some of the purest crystals on the planet. Once the silicon cylinder is grown to the desired diameter, it is sawed into wafers and polished to achieve a very flat mirror surface. Transistors, and other microelectronic parts, are built on the polished wafer in layers in an etching process. The wafer is then sawed/diced into its individual chips. Each chip is mounted in an electronic package that protects it and connects it to the outside world. We essentially take a pile of sand and change it into thousands of dollars worth of computer chips.



The artwork is framed in an 8"x10" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.