Silicon on Insulator

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What Does Silicon on Insulator Mean?

Silicon on insulator (SOI) is a building convention for semiconductors, where engineers take advantage of materials like crystal silicon and silicon oxide to streamline the manufacturing of microprocessors and integrated circuits.

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Techopedia Explains Silicon on Insulator

SOI chips have emerged to challenge the convention of the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), which uses a process called doping. In SOI, there is no doping, which allows designers to eliminate the process of discharging and recharging the capacitance for the device. This, in turn, limits heat and energy use. Experts also see the development of SOI as part of the ongoing process of extending what is called Moore’s law, which allows for the doubling of transistors on an integrated circuit and the progressive miniaturization of electronic hardware.

SOI chips may use a process called separation by implantation of oxygen (SIMOX), where purified oxygen is ingested into the silicon wafer at high temperatures, producing silicon oxide, which bonds with the pure silicon.

Another way that SOI helps in advanced device manufacturing is to limit interference from background radiation or other physical aspects of the environment.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.