Quartz is used in a number of different areas within the semiconductor manufacturing process where purity is of the highest order. Front-end semiconductor processes are generally large consumers of Quartz products, where the “wafers”, most commonly made of Silicon, are put through a series of process steps in order to eventually create millions of circuits known as micro-chips. Many of these process steps require precisely controlled gas reactions at high temperatures on the surface of the wafers. Quartz parts are commonly used to ensure that high purity is maintained while being able to withstand high pressure/vacuum at high temperature, while not reacting with the wafers themselves or introducing particles which will cause circuit failures further down the line.
Quartz tanks (or baths) are also used in the etching process, where (sometimes volatile) chemicals are used to clean or etch the Silicon wafers at a specific and controlled rate, sometimes at temperature. Quartz offers an inert environment for the chemicals, as well as being absent of contaminants which could contaminate the products.
Quartz is also used in the production process of the wafers themselves, where a starting seed crystal is grown under specific conditions into (usually) long cylindrical ingots. These ingots are then sliced and polished to create the wafers that are used within the semiconductor front-end process described above. For this process, Quartz crucibles (which look like large bowls) are used with very specific purity requirements on the inner surface to ensure the highest purity and consistency of the ingots grown inside.