Semiconductors are materials or substances that have two main functions – they can be insulators and conductors. They’re capable of conducting electricity, which makes them ideal for controlling electric current. Their capacity to conduct and regulate electricity increases when there’s a higher amount of voltage, light, or heat present. These substances can be in the form of pure elements like silicon or compounds like gallium arsenide. Electronic circuit utilizes silicon while laser diodes and solar cells are known to use gallium arsenide.
The current that flows in semiconductors are created by charge carriers, specifically electrons and holes. The negatively charged particles are electrons while the positively charged ones are the holes.
Semiconductors are essential factors of our day-to-day lives, especially since electronic devices, such as computers, televisions, and video games have become major sources of information and entertainment.
Types of Semiconductors
There are two main types of semiconductors; extrinsic and intrinsic.
- Extrinsic semiconductors are doped semiconductors. As such, their electrical properties are modified to make it compatible with and ideal for transistors, diodes, and other electronic applications. Impurities are added so they become conductive. These impurities are referred to as “dopants”, which is why extrinsic semiconductors are also known as doped semiconductors. There are two ways to classify extrinsic semiconductors: P-type and N-type. Both kinds are neutral. However, the P-type ones result from holes while the N-type ones are from electrons.
- Intrinsic semiconductors are described as pure or pure in form. They are “undoped”, as compared to the “doped” characteristics of extrinsic semiconductors, as they do not have any impurities. Thus, it is the material’s property that determines the amount of charge carriers.
With intrinsic semiconductors, the electron’s density is equivalent to the hole’s density. Other comparisons between extrinsic and intrinsic semiconductors:
- With intrinsic semiconductors, the electron’s density is equivalent to the hole’s density. This is the total opposite with extrinsic semiconductors.
- Extrinsic semiconductors have a high level of electrical conductivity while intrinsic semiconductors have a low electrical conductivity.
ICs or integrated circuits are semiconductors in the form of small chips. They are made out of silicon and holds hundreds and millions of capacitors, resistors, and transistors. ICs have several functions – as microprocessors, timer, computer memory, oscillator, and amplifier. With the help of analog and digital technology, integrated circuits are also capable of storing data and executing calculations.
Wireless Modules & Adapters
Wireless modules, also known as Wi-Fi modules and WLAN (wireless local area network) modules, are utilized by products that need to wirelessly connect to the internet. They are essential components for many industries, particularly for scientific, commercial, industrial, and consumer applications. These modules allow users, service, and utilities providers to seamlessly communicate with products like electrical products (such as HVAC or air conditioning systems).
Wireless adapters are essential for computers to connect wirelessly to the internet. Using radio waves, these electronic devices communicate with routers and internal networks or broadband modems. On desktop computers, wireless adapters need to be installed. These devices are already built-in on tablets and laptops.
Discrete semiconductors are devices vital for electrical engineering purposes. These electrical components come with a single circuit element – active or passive. They are the exact opposite of integrated circuits. In other words, discrete semiconductors have their own package and the circuits are created from components connected to an individual semiconductor. There are numerous types of discrete semiconductors, including bipolar transistors, digital transistors, and switching diodes.