Slow and Steady Wins the Tech Race
There is a never-ending race to improve upon the latest software, devices, and machines of society. Countless tech companies spend the bulk of their research and development budgets in this area. While everyone seems to agree that the Silicon Valley is the hub of the action, many are unaware of the prevalence of high-tech materials in their own backyard. In fact, the same semiconductor use that crafted the name Silicon Valley is found in many of your communication devices and electronics. What you may not realize is that this extremely common natural element of the earth can be thanked for beautiful white sandy beaches. Silica, which is an oxide of silicon, is sand’s most common component.
Though It be Little, It is Fierce
In order to convert silicon into an element than can be used in tech devices, silicon wafer manufacturing must play a part. Silicon is a common yet impressive semi-conductor found naturally in the earth. At 28% of the Earth chemical composition, it is the second most common element next to oxygen, which is about 47% of the Earth’s crust. Harnessing the properties of silicon for power sources in electronics requires doping the element for its specific use and crafting it into a wafer, or tiny slice of silicon. The microelectronic devices are then built around the wafer, which is primarily used as an integrated circuits. These circuits then power the devices common to society today, with cellphones and computers being two of the primary systems dependent on this technology.
The use of silicon and the research that has been done through the years with tech companies in Santa Clara is what earned the region the nickname of Silicon Valley. While the heavy testing and research can lead to a lot of silicon wafer waste, new developments and companies actually look to reclaim and recycle the wafers. This keeps the costs down as related to equipment assembly, which ultimately can benefit the consumer. As evidenced by the progress silicon has made, something great can come from almost nothing.