Components Expert

The working principle and application of semiconductor

Thanks to semiconductors, the world has become safer, smarter, and more convenient. But what are they made of, what are they made of, and where are they found?

Without semiconductors, our world would be more like the late 1950s or early 1960s; we would not have handheld electronic calculators, microwave ovens, digital alarm clocks, mobile phones, tablets, personal computers, electronically controlled transmissions or washing machines.

What are semiconductors and what do they do?

Semiconductors are the backbone of information technology and the modern electronics industry-therefore, our society, because we know it. Without them, most of the electronic devices that are popular today would not exist. Although semiconductors are a fundamental part of any electronic device, their purpose is relatively simple: to allow the amplified current to move along the circuit board, so that the components on the circuit board can be energized. Semiconductors are usually made of insulating materials (such as silicon) and are usually mixed with atomic-sized impurities (called “doping”) during the production process to affect their conductivity depending on the application.

A brief history of semiconductor technology

Semiconductors revolutionized the electronics industry when the first transistor was invented in the 1940s, because semiconductors can amplify signals to the extent that they can power circuits. Scientists soon discovered that semiconductors can be reduced in size, paving the way for the development of computer processors, memory chips, integrated circuits, and system-on-chips (SoCs). Although these devices are gradually becoming more complex, rugged, efficient, and reliable, it is their size reduction (to the nanometer level) that makes many technologies smaller and more powerful. These technologies in turn have opened the door to most of the communications, transportation, entertainment, industrial, and medical innovations that have helped shape society in the past 70 years.

Semiconductor

Type, group and classification

Most semiconductor materials are inorganic materials, which can be divided into two basic groups: intrinsic materials that retain purity and intrinsic materials that are doped with impurities to affect the conductivity of the material. They can also be divided into N-type and P-type according to their types. In semiconductors, electrons move through the substrate to holes as part of the conduction process. N-type semiconductors are made by doping electron donor elements in the material, which means there are more electrons than holes. In this case, electrons are called majority carriers, and holes are called minority carriers. In P-type semiconductors, holes are majority carriers, and electrons are minority carriers.

At the end of the 1950s, with the emergence of metal oxide semiconductor technology, semiconductors were miniaturized for the first time, and silicon became the most commonly used element in production. This is due to its easy production and strong electrical and mechanical characteristics. Other semiconductor materials include: gallium arsenide, used in radio frequency modules, which is difficult to produce; germanium, used in early transistor technology (along with lead sulfide); silicon carbide; gallium phosphide; and cadmium sulfide.

One type of semiconductor material is gallium nitride (GaN), which is making progress in the electronics field. Gallium nitride semiconductors, known as future silicon, have high temperature resistance, conduct more current, increase power density and overall efficiency. This material has received significant support in the aerospace industry and is now increasingly used in household appliances and road vehicles.

Regulars in daily life

Semiconductors used to be patents for televisions and radios, but they are now inevitable in daily life. From toasting in the morning to turning on the lights, watching the weather or reading e-books, semiconductors make the most dull activities possible. This is why smart phones are more powerful than supercomputers 20 years ago, why cars will soon be able to drive themselves, and why they can instantly communicate with people all over the world. Semiconductors are as vital to modern life as air or water. With the advent of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks, their importance will not diminish anytime soon.