What is a Semiconductor? Properties, examples and applications

Semiconductor Lecture – 1:

The article series on Semiconductor materials start from here. In this post, I’m going to give you basic introductory concepts on Semiconductors. You can read the next articles related to this topic by clicking on the Next Article button at the end of this article.

Modern Technology is based on Semiconductors. The discovery of semiconductors has given a new direction to Science and Technology. You can access online articles from your home, institution and anywhere because of the invention of semiconductor materials. In this article, I’m going to explain what is a semiconductor and what are its properties and applications.

Contents of this article:

  1. Definition of a Semiconductor.
  2. Examples of Semiconductors.
  3. Properties of Semiconductor Materials.
  4. Types of Semiconductors.
  5. Applications of Semiconductor Materials.

What is a Semiconductor?

There are three types of substances – Conductors, Semiconductors and Insulators. Semiconductors are the materials that have a conductivity greater than the insulators but smaller than the conductors. That means their conductivity lies somewhere between the conductivities of conductors and insulators.

Suggested Article: Conductivity of Semiconductors.

Examples of Semiconductors

Silicon (Si) and Germanium (Ge) are the most popular two semiconductor materials. Apart from these, there are some compound semiconductors like Galium Arsenide (GaAs), Indium Phosphide (InP), Indium Arsenide (InAs), etc. Among these semiconductors, Silicon is used in most devices.

Properties of Semiconductor Materials

There are some interesting properties of Semiconductor materials that make these useful in Technological areas. Here is a list of properties of semiconductors –

  • At absolute zero, semiconductors behave like perfect insulators.
  • Semiconductors show a negative temperature coefficient of resistance. The resistance and resistivity of a semiconductor decrease with an increase in its temperature. That means the conductivity of semiconductors increases with the increase in temperature.
  • Semiconductors have two types of charge carriers – free electrons and holes. Holes have positive charges.

Suggested Article: what are holes and how do they move in Semiconductors?

Different Types of Semiconductors

On the basis of doping, there are two types of semiconductors –

  • Intrinsic Semiconductors
  • Extrinsic Semiconductors

Intrinsic semiconductors are pure or undoped semiconductors and extrinsic semiconductors are doped or impurity-mixed semiconductors. We have discussed Intrinsics and Extrinsic semiconductors in the next article i.e. the second article on semiconductors.

Suggested Article: What is doping of a semiconductor and who do we need doping in semiconductors?

Again, on the basis of types of doping, extrinsic semiconductors are classified into two types –

  • n-type Semiconductors
  • p-type semiconductors

You can get detailed explanations of n-type and p-type semiconductors in the next article on semiconductors. Click on the Next article button at the end of this article.

Applications of Semiconductors

Semiconductors are the basic elements of modern Technology. All electronic devices like LED lamps, LED TVs, Mobiles, Laptops, Chips, etc. are made of semiconductors. Semiconductor materials have huge applications in controlling Robots, Trains, Satellite systems, etc. In the early days, Computers were bulky in size (as bigger as the volume of a room) and consume huge power. Now you can put a computer on a desk and can keep a mini-computer like a mobile, tablet in your pocket. These are possible only because of semiconductors. Electronic ICs are very cheaper and available in very smaller sizes. These small ICs are the components of Smartphones and digital computers.

This is all from this article on Semiconductors and their Properties. If you have any doubts about this topic, you can ask me in the comment section. Read the next article i.e. Semiconductor Lecture – 2 by clicking on the Next Article button below.

Thank you!