Silicon wafers: Don’t grind, recycle!
Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, News, Research
Published : 3 February 2020
Leti’s 200 mm and 300 mm research wafers, which until recently have been ground up and disposed of after use, are now sent to an aluminum foundry for recycling. The foundry was audited and its procedures for managing confidentiality were validated, and the recycling program went live in September.
The nature of the advanced components etched onto the research wafers must remain top secret. Grinding the wafers solved the problem, but created others like noise, dust, and handling. Now, the wafers are shipped in a locked truck, are stored in a secure area, and are only removed when they are ready to be melted down. The foundry recovers the silicon in the wafers, obtaining a crucial raw material at a very competitive cost. Leti has divided the cost of disposing of end-of-life wafers by six.