DIY Metallization: A Journey Towards Affordable Semiconductor Production

DIY Metallization: A Journey Towards Affordable Semiconductor Production

[ProjectsInFlight] Pushes the Boundaries of DIY Semiconductors with Innovative Metallization Technique

The world of semiconductor production has long been dominated by large corporations with access to expensive equipment and specialized facilities. However, one determined individual, [ProjectsInFlight], has been on a mission to democratize the process, making it accessible to the average hacker. In a series of groundbreaking experiments, [ProjectsInFlight] has been documenting their progress in creating DIY semiconductors using readily available tools and materials. The latest milestone in their journey is the development of a novel metallization technique that promises to revolutionize chip manufacturing.

Silvering Method: A Blast from the Past
To lay down thin films of metal on chips, [ProjectsInFlight] turned to an age-old chemical reaction known as the silver mirror reaction. This reaction, often demonstrated in high school chemistry classes, involves mixing Tollen’s reagent (a combination of sodium hydroxide, ammonia, and silver nitrate) with glucose in a glass vessel. The glucose acts as a reducing agent, causing metallic silver to precipitate and create a beautiful silvered effect on the inside of the glass.

Challenges and Solutions
While the silvering method showed promise, it presented some challenges for [ProjectsInFlight]. The silver layer proved to be easily scratched off, requiring careful handling. Additionally, finding a suitable etchant for silver, a noble metal, was no easy task. After exploring various options, including piranha solutions (acids spiked with peroxide), [ProjectsInFlight] settled on a surprising solution: plain white vinegar with a dash of 12% peroxide. This unconventional choice proved to be effective in etching the silver layer.

Improving Adhesion: Teflon Tape to the Rescue
One major hurdle [ProjectsInFlight] faced was ensuring that the silver layer adhered to the chip rather than sticking to the photoresist when the protective film was removed. The solution came in the form of Teflon thread-sealing tape, which replaced the photoresist’s protective film. This simple yet ingenious modification allowed the entire process, from plating to etching, to work seamlessly.

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Fine Resolution Conductive Traces
With the successful implementation of the modified silvering method and improved adhesion, [ProjectsInFlight] achieved remarkable results in terms of fine resolution conductive traces on the chip. Although these traces are delicate, it marks a significant step forward in the DIY semiconductor production process. The journey from using a DIY tube furnace to deposit oxide layers to the search for suitable etchants and exploring photolithography methods has been a challenging yet rewarding one for [ProjectsInFlight].


[ProjectsInFlight]’s relentless pursuit of DIY semiconductors has led to yet another breakthrough with the development of an innovative metallization technique. By leveraging the silver mirror reaction and employing unconventional solutions, [ProjectsInFlight] has overcome significant obstacles in creating conductive traces on chips. While there are still challenges to address, the progress made so far is a testament to the power of ingenuity and determination. As we eagerly await the next chapter in this DIY semiconductor saga, it is clear that the landscape of chip manufacturing is on the brink of a revolution.

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