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How should doped silicon wafers be handled?

  1. Dec 17, 2014 #1
    I am doing a side project with some doped silicon wafers. What precautions should I take when handling wafers? Is it necessary to wear gloves and use deionized water when rinsing the wafers?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    What are you using them for?
  4. Dec 17, 2014 #3
    Building a diode
  5. Dec 17, 2014 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Most dopant's are extremely toxic so yes you need to use the proper facility PPE when handling wafers. That usually includes gloves and eye protection at a minimum. Your body is also a large source of contamination (like skin oils) so proper handling devices like wafers tweeters should be used. Ultra pure DI water should always be used as a rinse to reduce surface contamination.
  6. Dec 17, 2014 #5
    I touched them with my hands, should i be alarmed?
  7. Dec 17, 2014 #6
    Extremely carefully!! Although its mostly because you don't want to break it. I've done work in a semiconductor lab where we handled doped silicon wafers in the form of silicon detectors used in collider experiments, although these are doped with different concentrations compared to wafers for commercial purposes. The most commonly used dopants are boron or phosphorus, but they exist in concentrations that are too small to affect you biologically. They are also bound within the crystal lattice of the silicon. The silicon is usually passivated, so you wouldn't be touching the dopants, but it's not recommend as getting skin oil on them could affect them electrically. So, touching them with your bare hands is, while safe, not good for the electronics. As nsaspook said, you can clean it with deionized water.

    When you say you are building a diode, do you mean you currently have plain silicon wafer?
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