Warren P. Waters was the inventor of the silicon wafer which is also called the silicon disc. I asked him why he decided to use silicon for his semi conductors? He told me that silicon is an excellent element to use for the manufacture of semi conductors, because it’s crystalline structure is perfect to hold the circuits, and makes and excellent conducting material. He also said that because silicon is made of sand, it is a very cheap resource, and there is nearly an infinite supply. My Dad also told me that silicon is very hard and indestructible compared with other conducting materials, and that it is easier to keep the impurities out of silicon. He worked on enhancing the purity of the silicon disk, so that it would have a higher yield. I remember seeing him dressed at his work in a white suit in a clean air room, so that the purity would not drop below so many parts per billion. Now the purity of the silicon disk is down to so many parts per trillion.
The other major consideration for his choice was that silicon is light weight in comparison with other metal conducting materials. Again, weight was a critical factor in the manufacture of the early telecommunication satellites that he was building at Hughes Aircraft and other aerospace facilities. These were all important considerations that he made when designing some of his first semi conductors. Warren Waters spent a lot of time experimenting and evaluating the results of these experiments in order to come up with the perfect semi-conductor. It was also fortunate that silicon wafers worked well for the manufacture of computer hard drives, copy machines, telephones and thousands of other products that were being manufactured in the Information Age. The invention of the silicon wafer revolutionized the computer age. All of our computers and now most of our cell phones, I pads, household appliances, airplanes and cars have silicon chips.