Let's Create an Edible Microchip
Hosted by Girl Day Presenting Partner: Applied Materials - Women's Professional Development Network
Visit our Booth:
- Saturday, February 27, 2021 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- Sunday, March 7, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 5th, 6th, 7th
Background: Microchips are used in every piece of electronics we use daily! You find them in computers, smartphones, watches, video games, toys and so much more. They begin as a silicon wafer and after hundreds of manufacturing steps and processing which deposit dozens of specifically patterned layers of metal at a nano-scale precision, you have a microchip.
The Challenge: In this experiment, you will create an edible microchip complete with oxide layer, source, gate, drain, and interconnect using a sugar cookie, frosting, and colored sugar sprinkles. Precision is key! The oxide layer (frosting) needs to be smooth and even on the wafer (cookie) and each layer of metal (sprinkles) should only go where you place the pattern.
Take a video of your edible microchip creation and share on Flipgrid.
- 3” Sugar Cookie (the ones in the grocery store bakery are usually the perfect size)
- White frosting
- Sugar crystal sprinkles in three colors (you can use regular granulated sugar with a few drops of food coloring to make these or buy them in colors at the store.)
- Plastic knife
- Microchip Layer Templates: These will need to printed and cutout before you begin. Please download a copy of the file here, print and cut out the 3 templates. If you do not have access to a printer, follow the instructions at the end of this activity to create these templates from scratch before you begin.
- ***As an alternative, you can use 3” paper circles in place of the cookies, glue instead of frosting, and glitter instead of sugar sprinkles (this version is definitely NOT edible!)***
Make your Chip!
- Spread frosting evenly onto the top of the cookie.
- Hold the first template directly above the frosted cookie and add only one color of sugar sprinkles through the holes in the template. You’re done with the first template and you can set it aside.
- Next, hold the second template directly over the cookie and add a second color of sugar sprinkles. You should see a pattern forming on your cookie when you set this template aside.
- Finally, hold the third template directly over the cookie and sprinkle on the third color of sugar sprinkles.
Food for Thought
- Was it hard to get the frosting onto the cookie evenly and smooth? If your frosting was bumpy or jagged, what could you do differently to make sure it is even and smooth?
- Did the sprinkles only go where you wanted them to? Did you have to hold the templates close or far away to get a good pattern on your cookie? Did frosting get stuck to your template if you held it too close?
How does this activity connect to STEM and today’s Girl Day theme of Creating in Code: Computing, Cybersecurity, Robotics?
Engineers have to figure out how to make computers and other electronic devices more reliable, safe, and efficient.
Engineers work in teams to design the layout of the microchip, look at the science to figure out what materials will work best, deposition methods, consider the various ways to improve the reliability and interactions between the different layers, and more. Computing, Cybersecurity and Robotics all rely on microchips to enable code commands to be carried out.
To watch a video of the making of an actual microchip, click here or watch below.
If you DO NOT have access to a printer to print the template, please create the templates shown below using whatever materials you have available.
Cut out three 3” circles
Template 1: Draw two 1” squares in the middle of the first circle 1.5” apart from each other. Cut these squares out of the circle leaving openings for the sprinkles go through.
Template 2: Draw a 1” square directly in the middle of the second circle. Cut this square out of the circle leaving a square opening in the middle.
Template 3: Draw the U shape shown below. Each leg should a little wider than a no. 2 pencil and 1.25” long.
Watch as an Applied Materials engineer creates an Edible Microchip!
Applied Materials is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. Our expertise in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale enables customers to transform possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make possible the technology shaping the future.
Learn more about what we do here:
The Women's Professional Development Network within Applied Materials is focused on inspiring and enabling a community of women to achieve their full potential while strengthening Applied Materials' goal to be an employer of choice. We seek to build a community among women who work at all Applied Materials Austin sites by providing a variety of professional and personal development opportunities as well as providing a network of support.