all about MICROCHIPS
How microchips are made
Learn about the steps in the chip fabrication process and what it’s like working in a cleanroom
Microchips are made by building up to 100 layers of interconnected patterns on a silicon wafer.
The microchip manufacturing process involves hundreds of steps and can take up to four months from design to mass production. In the cleanrooms of the chipmakers’ fabs (fabrication facilities), air quality and temperature are kept tightly controlled as robots transport their precious wafers from machine to machine.
Modern chips can have up to 100 layers, which all need to align on top of each other with nanometer precision (called 'overlay'). The size of the features printed on the chip varies depending on the layer, which means that different types of lithography systems are used for different layers. Our latest-generationEUV (extreme ultraviolet) machinesare used for the most critical layers with the smallest features, and ourDUV（深紫外线）机器对于具有较大特征的关键层。
How clean is ‘clean’?
The air inside a cleanroom is filtered and recirculated continuously, and employees wear special clothing (sometimes called ‘bunny suits’) to help keep the air particle free.
ASMLmachines are also made in cleanrooms inside our EUV and DUV factories inVeldhoven，荷兰。
Average wafer starts per month
Cost of building a fab
Steps in chipmaking process
Types of chipmakers
Integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) such as Intel and Samsung both design and manufacture chips. Foundries, on the other hand, are companies that manufacture chips under contract for other companies. TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and UMC are examples of this type of chipmaker. A third type of chipmaker is the ‘fabless semiconductor company’ such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD, who avoid the high costs of building and maintaining production facilities by focusing only on chip design. These companies might farm out their production to a foundry.