Silicon goes green
Last modified on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 18:21
IBM has developed a greener method for recycling precious silicon that is wasted during computer chip manufacturing.
Excess silicon has its uses; some of it is resold to the solar-panel industry, while other pieces are reused for testing. However, most of it ends up sandblasted to eliminate all traces of trade secrets on the wafers. IBM engineers have now found a way to remove the circuitry with an abrasive pad and water, which enables the silicon to be reused.
By extending the silicon lifespan, IBM believes it will save about $1.5 million a year and leave more of the material available for the solar industry, where resources have been in very tight supply.