Silicon Wafer with System on a Chip Chips - 8 inch
About this Artwork:
This wafer is 8 inches in diameter and was made in 2005. It has about 2,500 computer chips on it. These chips are Cypress CY8C24094 SoCs (System on a Chip). System on a Chip is the highest level of single-core processor integration. In addition to an 8-bit 24MHz M8C Harvard-architecture core microprocessor, it has 16KB of Flash Read Only Memory (ROM) and 8KB of Random Access Memory (RAM). If that’s all it had this would be better called a Microcomputer Unit (MCU), but wait there’s more. In addition, this system had all of these: 14-bit Analog-to-Digital Converters, 9-bit Digital-to-Analog Converters, Programmable Amps, Filters, Comparators, Counters, Timers, Cyclical Redundancy Checkers, UARTs, Serial Peripheral Interfaces, General-Purpose-I/Os, and 4 USBs. This SoC chip would have required about 25 different chips in 1985 to provide that same level of functionality. These chips would have used far more power and created far more heat. In the SoC, all of these circuits are placed on a single 2.5mm x 4.5mm piece of silicon. These SoCs would have been used to provide a lot of intelligence to tools, equipment, and appliances. In 2005, at a price of $10 a chip, this wafer had a value of about $20,000 to $25,000 depending on the good chip yield of the wafer.
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 11"x14" 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.