Silicon Wafer with Microprocessor Chips - 6 inch



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About this Artwork:

This artwork is based on a Texas Instruments TMS370 microprocessor silicon wafer. The wafer is 6" in diameter and was made in 1997. It has about 116 computer chips on it. The chips are Texas Instrument TMS370 microprocessors. The TMS370 family of microprocessors were 8-bit designs with on-board RAM and ROM memory systems. The image behind the wafer is of this silicon wafer. The wafer is placed over one of the chips. You can see the edges of the other chips surrounding it.  You can read the processor number and date (Look at the upper left corner of the chip covered by the wafer, look at the white rectangular directly below the two blue rectangles. You will see the writing rotated 90o counterclockwise.)  These microprocessors would have been used to provide intelligence to some tools, equipment, or appliances.

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.