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Epitaxy: Seeking Crystalline Perfection

The past, present and future of one of the fundamental processes used to make all kinds of semiconductor devices.

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By Richard Lewington
Epitaxy is one of the fundamental processes used to make all kinds of semiconductor devices: LEDs, power electronics and, of course, microchips.

The term epitaxy means, roughly speaking, “adding order” and that’s exactly what it does. Hot gases react on a surface to “grow” a layer that precisely matches the underlying crystal structure.

Epitaxy was first used in chipmaking to grow ultrapure silicon films—the starting point for making high-performance CMOS transistors. Today, we use epitaxy for a whole lot more.

In this video, three of Applied’s researchers, David Carlson, Yihwan Kim and Errol Sanchez, delve into the past, present and future of epitaxy technology.


Incidentally, epitaxy is the process that started it all for Applied Materials. David relates a good story about that a couple of minutes in.

—Richard Lewington is a writer in Applied Materials’ technical communications group.