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back to article IBM rubs its junk for solar industry

IBM is transforming its scrap silicon wafers into profitable material used to produce solar panels. IBM describes the new silicon retrieval process as a "specialized pattern removal technique," although it bares a striking resemblance to just buffing a wafer with an abrasive pad. By stripping the etched layers of semiconductor …

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Boffin

The process is more complex than it looks

Whatever they scrape they need to wash off.

The fluid they wash off is full of the elements on both sides of Si (and down) in the periodic table. None of these is particularly nice to the environment so if the technology does not retrieve them the total damage to the environment is likely to exceed any savings from using solar.

Add to that the fact that they need to scrape a relatively large surface to the depth of several micron and it all becomes a considerable technical achievement.

If they have managed to do all of that I can understand them being happy.

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Don't be so fast to judge

Silicone wafers are unbelievably fragile(I've worked with them alot) - think the ruggedness of thin dry leaves in the fall. The slightest scratch is huge problem, as the dopant can be quite shallow on one side. A process which can remove integrated components from them without breaking them is actually quite impressive from that regard - although it probably is just a buffing machine of some sort, it would need to be very delicate.

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Sillicon Shortage

There is a shortage of sillicon? It's made of f***ing sand.

(Usual joke disclaimers, etc. I'm still not using the icons, mind.)

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Anonymous Coward

Innovation?

So they are throwing away 3 million of these things a year and some one thinks "maybe we can reuse them?"... not very remarkable really.

Simon, they may be very delicate but then they are in the business of dealing with them every day so I'm sure it didnt take a massive amount of research.

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xjy

polishing astronomical mirrors

Sounds like trying to polish astronomical mirrors to a few microns tolerance, plus doing fairly detailed chemical processing on the slurry. Such "delicate buffing" is in fact "a considerable technical achievement".

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Stu
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And the best title of the week goes to . . .

That news title made me burst a blood vessel in my eye. Oh how I laffed!

Theres nothing like a masturbatory inuendo title to lighten peoples mornings - a classic - definitely one for the El-Reg awards ceremony! ;-)

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I have a cunning plan....

Silicon wafers + tesco value brillo pads + brasso = £££££

Anyone fancy taking it to the dragons den?

/anyone seen my coat?

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Greatest Title Ever

Whoever came up with that title should get a pay rise and a nicer office.

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