How on earth do they make stuff like this?!

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Peytonator, May 9, 2011.

  1. Peytonator

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 30, 2008
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    Every time I see a picture like this....

    [​IMG]

    ... I'm totally lost for words. How on earth do they do it? How can they make for example a PIC24 for just $2.5, and it can have like a billion transistors in it?! And yet, I'm totally befuddled by the simplest of transistor circuits.

    I think this is actually all fake or something :p
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    No, it's not fake. I bond gold wire that is 0.001" onto chips like that every day. That particular chip only has a few hundred transistors. When they get really dense, say a million plus transistors, they have a holographic look to them.

    We use pure gold (99.99%) in my shop because it is so workable. Some of the chips use gold as the conductor, some aluminum. You can get gold to stick to aluminum with good results, but gold to gold is best, it actually gets stronger with time. Most commercial chips use aluminum wire to aluminum pads.

    Looking at that part it appears to be a 3 terminal voltage regulator. Call it an educated guess.
     
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  3. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
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    It's a conspiracy. Most chips are filled with "magic smoke"; this is what makes them work. When a chip releases the magic smoke (e.g. due to overvoltage, overloading etc.), an essential component is lost, and the chip does not work any more.

    On a more serious note, you should look up photolithography.

    If I remember correctly, a PIC24F has around 1 million transistors on the die.
     
  4. Peytonator

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 30, 2008
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    Wow... interesting.... I always wondered what that smoke was, when I turned the power supply on too high ;)

    But how do they actually BUILD it...how do you make the transistor and connect it in the circuit. Do you use lazers or what? Because you certainly can't do it by hand :)

    Have you heard about the new "3D" transistors... no longer planar in topology? Check this out:
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/...els-new-transistors-enter-the-third-dimension

    EDIT: ohhh right... photolithography
     
  5. Peytonator

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 30, 2008
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    I was actually thinking about something similar with regard to lab-on-a-chips. You basically need to make an artifical DNA sequence that matches that of a tissue sample. If it doesn't match, crosscheck with a database to see what disease the person has.
     
  6. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
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    Photolithography is very clever. You basically make a large set of masks - which can be printed or produced in some way, and you scale the image down really small. You etch the silicon using a complex chemical process involving light.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Lately, for the really dense chips, they are working on new methods. I remember reading about an X-Ray laser being used. The resolution depends on the wavelength of light, the longer wavelength can't make as small shapes. X-rays however, are very short wavelength and can make smaller shapes.
     
  8. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    I saw an excellent episode of "How do they do it?" on chip manufacture. With any luck it's on youtube somewhere. If the man narrating it seems familiar, it's because he is Kryten from Red Dwarf.
     
  9. Peytonator

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 30, 2008
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    WOW... is this what you're referring to? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoDgulny31M

    It's so amazing what man has actually been able to do... "nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them" (Genesis 11:6)... as at the Tower of Babel.

    It it true that the speed of light is actually too SLOW? I.e., that it creates delay problems from one side of the chip to the other? Delay problems as in 0.1 ns :D
     
  10. QuadTech

    New Member

    Apr 19, 2011
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    When you take a step back and think about it, it's more than a little awe inspiring to think that we can manufacture chips like this. Not that long ago, this kind of technology was science fiction. Actually, science fiction predicted we'd be leaving on Mars, but computers would still take up a whole room in your house.
     
  11. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Yes, that's the one. I couldn't believe the size of the single crystal silicon blob when I saw it.
    And yes, light (and an electrical signal) only travels 3cm in 0.1ns so at gigahertz frequencies it has to be taken into account.
     
  12. nerdegutta

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    Dec 15, 2009
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  13. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    All this, and the number of transistors in the same space doubles every year...
    Makes you wonder what it's gonna be like in a couple decades... molecular level computers aren't a stretch...

    Bill, what exactly do you do?
     
  14. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I work for Raytheon in a class 1 clean room, the lowest class there is. I run very smart robots that lay wire and ribbons that bond to raw chip stock to ceramic printed circuits. The term is Microelectronics. I also use manual bonders (the machines that bond the small wires to the equally small components) and repair any damage that may have happened to the wires. If the chip is damaged I send it off to be replaced. Most chips are glued to the ceramic board with either conductive or nonconductive epoxy, depending on the design.

    I used to repair these and other machines on the factory floor, I was machine maintenance for Alcatel. During the telecom crash I lost my job, and took the one at Raytheon because to repair the machines I had to know how to use them.

    To be a machine maintenance tech I was a lead tech, sort of an interface between engineering and the test tech on the floor. I was the guy the test techs called when they had problems. I also spent a stint as a calibration tech (which was another lead tech position) repairing and calibrating test equipment.

    Someday, if the economy ever picks up, I can get a job I'm not overqualified for. For now though, it is good to have a steady decent job.
     
  15. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    Cool, I know a couple people that work at raytheon in fort wayne, don't know much about what they do though, just that one complains about wearing an anti-static lab coat every now and then.

    Do they let you build any microscopic 555's? ;)
     
  16. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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  17. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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  18. majsyd2010

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    Aug 29, 2010
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    Good One !!!!! :)

     
  19. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Jerri Ellsworth made a homemade MOSFET just to prove she knew how. Not many people have her home lab though. This is the same lady who designed a Commodore 64 and 1541 on a chip to put a Commodore 64 gaming system on a joystick. She has done a lot more of course. Last I heard she basically freelances.

    I've been in love with her for many many years. Pretty, and brains!
     
  20. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    You, and about 8 million nerds...
    IIRC she's married
     
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