Silicon Wafer with Communication Chips - 6 inch, Ethernet



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About this Artwork:

This artwork is based on a silicon wafer that contains chips that helped build the Internet. This wafer is 6" in diameter and has over 232 computer chips on it. This wafer has an interesting star pattern in the center. The pattern comes from the chip having four identical, independent “cores,” with each core rotated 90 degrees from the adjacent cores. The wafer was made by Dallas Semiconductor, Inc. in 1995. The chip’s designation is DS21QA43. The artwork behind the wafer is an image of several chips from the silicon wafer. These chips were used for high-speed Wide Area Network (WAN) communications. Each of the cores could handle one complete DS1/E1 2Mbps framed stream over two telephone twisted pairs. Total bandwidth for the chip was 8Mbps. In the beginning days of the WWW Internet, 2Mbps was a blistering speed.

About Making Computer Chips:

Computer chips start out as ordinary sand, which is silicon dioxide. However, the silicon must be made very, very pure. The first step is to melt the sand, in a furnace that reaches about 3200o F, and mix with carbon. This first purification process creates 99% pure Silicon, a common output is Silicon Carbide. The Silicon Carbide is processed in a trichlorosilane distillation method to create 99.9999% pure silicon called polycrystalline silicon. The polysilicon is broken up into chunks. These chunks are melted in a crucible at about 2500o F. A silicon crystal seed is dipped in molten silicon and slowly drawn out to create a cylinder of silicon. 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. These wafers are polished to achieve a very flat mirror surface. Transistors, and other microelectronic parts, are built on the polished wafer in layers in a process called etching. The wafer is then sawed into its individual chips. Each chip is mounted in an electronic package that serves to protect it and connect it to the outside world. It has been said that computer chips are the greatest value-added product in the 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.