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Wafer Fabs (3674-WF)

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Wafer Fabs (3674-WF)
  

Overview of Wafer Fabs (3674-WF)

— Wafer fabrication is a procedure composed of many repeated sequential processes to produce complete electrical or photonic circuits. Examples include production of radio frequency (RF) amplifiers, LEDs, optical computer components, and CPUs for computers. Wafer fabrication is used to build components with the necessary electrical structures. The main process begins with electrical engineers designing the circuit and defining its functions, and specifying the signals, inputs, outputs and voltages needed. These electrical circuit specifications are entered into electrical circuit design software, such as SPICE, and then imported into circuit layout programs, which are similar to ones used for computer aided design. This is necessary for the layers to be defined for photomask production. The resolution of the circuits increases rapidly with each step in design, as the scale of the circuits at the start of the design process is already being measured in fractions of micrometers. Each step thus increases circuit density for a given area. A fab is a common term for where these processes are accomplished. Often the fab is owned by the company that sells the chips, such as AMD, Intel, Texas Instruments, or Freescale. A foundry is a fab at which semiconductor chips or wafers are fabricated to order for third party companies that sell the chip, such as fabs owned by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). In 2013 the cost of building the next generation wafer fab was estimated at over $10 billion

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