An extensive range of highly sophisticated specialty chemicals are used in the electronics industry, which are called as electronic chemicals. These chemicals are used in manufacturing of electronic products and components, in integrated circuits and silicon wafers, for printed circuit boards and packaging, in the manufacture of optoelectronics and compound semiconductors, in the production of several flat panel display products, and numerous other areas of application in electronic industry.
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Different Types of Chemicals Used in Electronics Industry
Diodes and capacitors, and transistors and resistors are the things that come to our mind when we think about the bulk of raw materials used at the electronic device manufacturing company’s factory floor. However, apart from these electronic components, a bulk of different types of chemicals are also used in the electronic industry for manufacturing and packaging process.
These electronic chemicals can exist in solid, liquid, or gas form. The different types of electronic chemicals utilized by every electronic device manufacturer in some capacity are as follows:
Manufacturing of Silicon Wafers
The thin slices of silicon crystals, silicon wafers are utilized in the fabrication of ICs (integrated circuits) and other semiconductor-based micro devices. Since these wafers do not pre-exist in the environment, they are actually produced from sand (silica) and then processed until they take the shape of a wafer.
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The manufacturing of silicon wafers involves several electronic chemicals and some of these are listed below:
- Ammonium chloride is utilized in the production of polysilicon crystals.
- Hydrogen chloride is used to remove impurities.
- Ammonia is utilized in the production of monosilane, which is an active byproduct of silicon wafer manufacturing process.
The chemicals used in production of silicon wafers is the most used out of the total chemical consumption in electronics industry.
Manufacturing of Photoresists
Coated onto a silicon wafer, photoresists are light sensitive materials that serves as a supporting component for the photolithography process. Every electronic device built with semi-conductor undergoes the process of photolithography.
These coatings of photoresist are composed of a combination of light sensitive chemicals and film forming agents. The most frequently used film forming agents fit to the category of cresol novolac resins. Most manufacturers prefer to use naphthoquinone diazides for the light sensitive chemicals.
Wet Processing Chemicals
Used in different stages of semiconductor processing, wet processing chemicals are etchants and solvents, and bases and acids. Some of the most frequently used wet processing chemicals include:
- Phosphoric acid
- Sulfuric acid
- Nitric acid
- Iso-propyl alcohol
In electronic industry, the consumption of wet processing chemicals is estimated to be 6% of the total chemical consumption.
COVID-19 Market Scenario
According to the Research Dive published report, the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to adversely impact the global electronic chemicals market. This is mainly due to the shortage of raw materials supply and delay in shipment time from several countries across the globe. According to the ET Markets estimation, the production of electronic chemicals has been affected by nearly by 20% owing to the shortage of raw materials supply from China. Besides, the major manufacturers of the electronic chemicals industry have reduced their operation capacity owing to non-availability of labor and disruption raw materials supply.
Furthermore, due to temporary discontinuation of operations, there is a decrease in demand for electronic chemicals from end-users. According to Independent Chemical Information Services (ICIS), there was about 15-20% decrease in the production of electronic chemicals owing to logistic and supply chain disruption. Moreover, various restrictions imposed by the government of various countries have negatively impacted on the profit margin in the electronic chemicals market. On the other hand, the global electronic chemicals market is expected to grow at an impressive rate after the COVID-19 pandemic owing to advancements in electronic chemicals to enhance the performance of electronic devices.
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