One of the great parts of working with indium is that there are always new areas of technology to explore. Recently, I’ve been interested in the full cycle of indium in III/V semiconductor applications. As a quick review, Indium Corporation produces and sells high purity indium ingots for our customers to make indium phosphide wafers for high-power/high-frequency electronics applications. That may not surprise you, but it is news to some of our customers that we also reclaim InP scrap from wafer manufacturing.
I recently had a chance to witness our reclaim process for InP - and what a cool process it is! I obviously (and unfortunately) can’t disclose any details, but in general, an ingenious set of equipment is used to transform buckets of broken, dirty InP scrap into beautiful, shiny, new indium ingots.
Just to clarify the reclaim loop:
- First, indium is purified by Indium Corporation to semiconductor-grade standards from commercial-grade.
- Next, the high-purity indium is reacted with phosphorus by our customers; commonly it is made into InP boules (similar to Si wafer production).
- Scrap from the boule (and later manufacturing operations) is sent back to Indium Corporation.
- Finally, Indium Corporation removes the phosphorous and brings pure indium back into production of new products – including high purity indium for InP semiconductor manufacturing.
If you’re interested in InP reclaim, please let us know how we can help you.