Glossary of Semiconductor Terms

Advanced Manufacturing: “Manufacturing” is making things, whether it’s food, paper, cars, or computer chips. “Advanced Manufacturing” means there is a lot of automation used to make things. The semiconductor industry is considered Advanced Manufacturing.

Bunny suit: The suits that people wear in the fab. They keep us from shedding lint and dust onto the wafers.

Chips or Computer Chips: The “brains” inside many of today’s devices like smartphones, tablets, VR headsets, laptops, etc. Sometimes people call chips “semiconductors” or “integrated circuits”.

Die: Hundreds, or even thousands of chips, are built onto a single wafer. When the wafer is finished, we dice up the individual chips, also called die.

Fab: Short for “fabrication”, which means “manufacturing” or “making”. The fab is where we the make semiconductors. Sometimes we refer to the fab as the “clean room”

Semiconductor: When people talk about “semiconductors” they are talking about computer chips, or simply “chips”. The chips are built onto silicon, which is not a conductor or an insulator, but has properties in between – that’s where we get the name semiconductor.

Silicon: An element (with the chemical symbol Si) that we can get from sand or quartz (which is Silicon Dioxide, chemical symbol SiO2 ). When melted at high temperatures, pure silicon can be pulled into an solid cylindrical ingot and then sliced into thin wafers.


Transistors: The tiny devices built into the computer chips that do all of the calculations. There can be billions of transistors on a single computer chip! On GF chips, each transistor can be as small as 12 nanometers.

Wafer: The flat round disk of silicon, which chips are built on.

Explore STEM@GF

K-12 Activities

For K-12, we share fun, engaging hands-on activities that educate students about semiconductor concepts. The activities can be easily be connected to math and science topics in the classroom.

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Pathways to Careers at GF

For High School and College, we show students what jobs are like in the field of semiconductors and what pathways to consider taking.

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Where you Can Find GF Chips

GlobalFoundries chips are found inside smartphones, and in the infrastructure that makes everything work.

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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of semiconductor terms

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About GlobalFoundries

GlobalFoundries has four global manufacturing sites located in the U.S. (Malta, NY and Essex Junction, VT); Dresden, Germany; and Singapore.

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