Macro photos of silicon wafers

Silicon wafer with three PC88 radio valves

Thanks to the wonders of eBay I now own three silicon wafers of some description, and because they contain microscopic detail I decided it’d be good to photograph them.

Focusing the camera was really hard, it’s bad enough getting a manual lens to focus but when the thing being photographed is so small it can’t be seen with the naked eye it requires a lot of trial and error. I also bought some old radio valves for a few quid off eBay too and decided to compare the two. It’s fun holding an entire wafer of ICs in one hand and having a single valve in the other.

Here is one of the wafers with some circuitry laid down in a regular pattern. The eBay bid says it was Intel memory of some description, but the wafer contains no visible writing to identify it. If I had a microscope I’d probably find something to read that’d identify it. The chips are arranged into small squares varying between half a centimetre and less than two millimetres across. I really like the edges of the wafers where there are half complete circuits due to the shape of the wafer. If these were processors, each one would be worth a hundred pounds or so, and the edge contains about 100 defective half made ones. A lot of the middle ones probably didn’t work properly either.

It’s hard to appreciate just how small the traces are on the surface, fortunately one of my hairs fell out while trying to get my camera to behave and I took a photo of it on the surface of the silicon wafer.

Macro Electronics Photography

A cluster of SMD resistors that look like a small town
A cluster of SMD resistors that look like a small town

While building my MAME cabinet and sorting out the various motherboards in my posession, I got a bit bored and started taking random photos. Electronics are interesting close up, this image shows some surface mount resistors on the back of a motherboard, their positioning looking like a small town.

I took other pictures and they are on my photos website, so have a look at an iBook Logic Board and iBook 3GB Hard Disk fromwhen I upgraded a tangerine first generation iBook’s hard disk (which takes a mere 30 steps).

There are also images of an Intel Celeron CPU before adding heat paste and after adding heat paste (yes, I put on more than that, don’t worry… I know how to apply heat paste to CPUs). And some very dusty power regulation electronics on a PC motherboard plus a nice abstract shot of the underside of three PCI expansion slots.