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What is a semiconductor

Published Time: 2023-03-17 18:00:39
A semiconductor is a substance with specific electrical properties, usually a solid chemical element or compound.

Diodes, integrated circuits (ICs) and transistors are all made of semiconductors. The exact properties of a semiconductor depend on the impurities (called dopants) added to it.
How do semiconductors work?

Integrated circuits like microchips are made of semiconductor materials

Most semiconductors are composed of crystals made of several materials. To better understand how semiconductors work, users must understand atoms and how electrons organize themselves within atoms. Electrons are arranged in layers called shells inside the atom. The outermost shell in an atom is called the valence shell.
The electrons in this valence shell are the ones that form bonds with neighboring atoms. This bond is called a covalent bond. Most conductors have only one electron in the valence shell. Semiconductors, on the other hand, usually have four electrons in their valence shell.

However, electrons may bond with valence electrons of other atoms if nearby atoms are made of the same valence. Whenever this happens, the atoms organize themselves into crystalline structures. We use this crystal to make most semiconductors, primarily silicon crystals.

What is the difference between N-type and P-type semiconductors?

N-type semiconductors mainly carry current in the form of negatively charged electrons, similar to current conduction in a wire. P-type semiconductors mainly carry current in the form of electron defects called holes. A hole has a positive charge, equal and opposite to the charge on an electron. In semiconductor materials, holes flow in the opposite direction to electrons.

Elemental semiconductors include antimony, arsenic, boron, carbon, germanium, selenium, silicon, sulfur, and tellurium. Silicon is the best known of these, forming the basis of most ICs.
Common semiconductor compounds include gallium arsenide, indium antimonide, and oxides of most metals. We also use gallium arsenide ( GaAs ) extensively in low noise, high gain, weak signal amplification devices.
Semiconductor devices can perform the functions of primitive vacuum tubes, but with hundreds of times the volume. Like a microprocessor chip, a single IC can do the work of an array of vacuum tubes that could fill a large building and require its own power plant.

What is a semiconductor chip?

Semiconducting substances lie between conductors and insulators. It controls and manages the electrical current in electronic devices and devices. As such, it is a popular electronic chip component used in computing components and various electronic devices, including solid-state storage.

What are RF Semiconductors?

A radio frequency ( RF ) semiconductor is a device used to turn on or rectify power in electronic equipment. RF semiconductors operate in the radio frequency spectrum from approximately 3 KHz to 300GHz.

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