Semiconductors

New efficiency world record for organic solar modules

A research team from Nuremberg and Erlangen has set a new record for the power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules. The scientists designed an OPV module with an efficiency of 12.6 percent over an ...

Energy & Green Tech

Moving e-cars into the fast lane

Researchers have been looking into silicon carbide, a promising alternative material for the semiconductor industry, for several years now. The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM joined forces with ...

Semiconductors

A new spin on organic semiconductors

Researchers have found that certain organic semiconducting materials can transport spin faster than they conduct charge, a phenomenon which could eventually power faster, more energy-efficient computers.

Energy & Green Tech

Powering devices—with a desk lamp?

Batteries power most of our devices, and even some cars. But researchers now report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a step toward running electronic devices in homes and offices on the light coming from lamps scattered ...

Engineering

Smart transformer for the energy turnaround

A new, smart medium-voltage transformer developed at ETH Zurich features cutting-edge semiconductor technology, making it extremely compact and energy efficient. Future applications are ranging from locomotives to fast charging ...

Engineering

Smart windows could combine solar panels and TVs too

Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. You hear someone enter the room behind you. You turn. "Welcome," you say. "Here is the video I wanted to show you." At the press of a button, the view vanishes ...

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Semiconductor

A semiconductor is a material that has a resistivity value between that of a conductor and an insulator. The conductivity of a semiconductor material can be varied under an external electrical field. Devices made from semiconductor materials are the foundation of modern electronics, including radio, computers, telephones, and many other devices. Semiconductor devices include the transistor, solar cells, many kinds of diodes including the light-emitting diode, the silicon controlled rectifier, and digital and analog integrated circuits. Solar photovoltaic panels are large semiconductor devices that directly convert light energy into electrical energy. In a metallic conductor, current is carried by the flow of electrons. In semiconductors, current can be carried either by the flow of electrons or by the flow of positively-charged "holes" in the electron structure of the material.

Silicon is used to create most semiconductors commercially. Dozens of other materials are used, including germanium, gallium arsenide, and silicon carbide. A pure semiconductor is often called an “intrinsic” semiconductor. The conductivity, or ability to conduct, of semiconductor material can be drastically changed by adding other elements, called “impurities” to the melted intrinsic material and then allowing the melt to solidify into a new and different crystal. This process is called "doping".

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