When making chips using lithographic techniques, How are the transistors and capacitors and other components "printed" onto the board?

When we print one we use things like UV or E-beam to print out the shape we want (using some kind of mask), but after we're left with the desired shape, how are the transistors, capacitors, resistors (and so on) placed? Are they there all along somehow?

I bet this question has a simple answer but I must be mis-interpreting some concept which doesn't let me understand.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is no "board". There is a silicon die. There must be many, many videos on how chips are made and they'll cover topics such as masking and doping, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Transistor That's what I meant $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Transistor watched several videos, non answer my question $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


With the different masks you can in 2D decide what pattern you want where on the chip. Transistors are nothing more than a few regions on the silicon that have been exposed to get more or less electrons, so they're conductive. On a chip, you're not going to be gluing any standard components as it's far too small for that. You'll have to look at what the component is trying to achieve and how it does that; a resistor makes it substantially harder for current to pass through two points, a capacitor stores an electric field usually with plates, an inductor is a piece of wire with a bunch of coils by which the magnetic field it has gets amplified. There are ways to recreate this in a more '2D' way on a silicon chip:

enter image description here


  • $\begingroup$ "... regions on the silicon that have been exposed to get more or less electrons ..." isn't quite right. This is the fourth post today that is hung up on electrons forgetting overall charge neutrality. It's the concentration of dopant that determines the charge carrier concentration. In an intrinsic semiconductor under thermal equilibrium, the concentrations of electrons and holes are equivalent. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 20:29

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