Engineering

Have researchers found the best semiconductor of them all?

Silicon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and in its pure form the material has become the foundation of much of modern technology, from solar cells to computer chips. But silicon's properties as a semiconductor ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

US firms have only few days supply of semiconductors: govt

American companies have an average of less than five days worth of semiconductors on hand, a level leaving them vulnerable to production shutdowns if supply is disrupted, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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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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