Chem Connections


Integrated Circuits

Semiconductor Image


tudents will study the concepts of thermodynamics through the context of integrated circuit design used in the semiconductor industry.

3 (3-4 hr) labs, 9 class sessions

Prerequisites: none
Initial Testing: Fall 1996
Tool Kit: Energetics, Experimental Design
Topics: thermodynamics, enthalpies of formation, heats of reaction, entropy, free energy, decision-making
Chemical Principles: thermodynamics, enthalpies of formation, heats of reaction, entropy, free energy, decision-making
University of California at Berkeley:
Angelica M. Stacy, stacy@cchem.berkeley.edu
Dept. of Chemistry, 510-642-3450
Melonie Hall, mahall@uclink2.berkeley.edu
Marco Molinaro, molinaro@cchem.berkeley.edu
Interdisciplinary Consultants:
Vikram Sing, LAM Research, Fremont, CA

Description - 4 bold

Semiconductor processing is used to introduce basic themodynamics to predict whether or not a reaction will proceed towards a desired product. The fabrication of integrated circuits on the semiconductor Si was chosen to introduce students to this rapidly growing industry. In addition, this context provides a variety of simple reactions to consider: extracting Si from sand, cleaning the Si crystal, depositing films of SiO and metals and etching these films. Enthalpy, entropy and Gibbs free energy are introduced sequentially as the various fabrication steps are considered and students learn to use these quantities to decide upon reactants and conditions to obtain desired products. Learning thermodynamics in this context will allow students to appreciate the concept of spontaneity and the importance of themodynamics in process design. Kinetics vs. thermodynamics considerations will be discussed in a qualitative way. This module is intended for the middle or the end of a first semester general chemistry course, either majors or non-majors.

Materials to be developed - 4 bold

Multimedia Materials

  • Interactive simulation of gas-forming reactions
  • Computer simulation of managing a chemical company
  • Computer-based animations for classroom use
  • Activity involving design of an improved airbag system (presented as a poster)

Standard Materials

  • Text for students Guide for instructors
  • Small-scale demonstrations of explosions
  • Laboratory experiments involving gas-forming reactions


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Last modified: 10/18/00 at 5:01 PM