A semiconductor is a material that has an electrical resistance between that of a conductor and an insulator. Semiconductor materials also contain 4 electrons in their outer electron shell (valence shell).
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Most group 14 elements in the periodic table can be semiconductors, these are carbon, silicon and germanium, most modern semiconductor components are made from silicon that has been grown into a cubic crystal structure.
The arrangement of atoms in the semiconductor is very important, semiconductors must have a cubic crystal structure to function properly, pure silicon or germanium is never used to manufacture working semiconductor components as its resistance cannot be controlled very well, it is only effected by changes in temperature.
In a pure semiconductor all the high energy outer electrons are used up maintaining the tight crystal structure save for those dislodged thermally.
Semiconductors have had a monumental impact on our society. You find semiconductors at the heart of microprocessor chips as well as transistors. Anything that’s computerized or uses radio waves depends on semiconductors.
Today, most semiconductor chips and transistors are created with ilicon. You may have heard expressions like “Silicon Valley” and the “silicon economy,” and that’s why — silicon is the heart of any electronic device.
A diode is the simplest possible semiconductor device, and is therefore an excellent beginning point if you want to understand how semiconductors work. In this article, you’ll learn what a semiconductor is, how doping works and how a diode can be created using semiconductors.
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