Semiconductor


The term semiconductor is defined as a material that acts as an insulator or as a conductor, this will depend on certain factors such as pressure, magnetic field or ambient temperature where it is located. One of the most used semiconductor elements is the metalloid chemical element “Silicon”, followed by germanium and lately sulfur has been used.

It can be said then that semiconductors establish an intermediate contradiction between insulators and conductors. In the case of the former, they have few mobile charges, which allows them to have a high resistance to the flow of current. While the insulators have a very low electrical resistance (almost zero) as a result of their richness in said charges.

Semiconductors, in general, are insulating at zero degrees Kelvin and make it possible to pass current at room temperature. This ability to carry current can be controlled through the inclusion of different atoms in the material other than the semiconductor, called impurities.

There are two types of semiconductors:

  • Intrinsic: they are crystals that through covalent bonds between atoms create a tetrahedral model structure at room temperature; these crystals have electrons that attract the energy they need to reach the conduction band, leaving an electron hole in the valence band.
  • Extrinsic: When a few impurities are added to an intrinsic semiconductor, it will become extrinsic and is said to be “doped”.

As already mentioned, the two most frequently used semiconductors in industry are silicon and germanium, since they are used in the manufacture of the different electronic equipment used today.