by Anh Son Ngo / preview mode read

What Is a Semiconductor and How It Works?

What is a semiconductor?

A semiconductor is a substance with specific electrical properties that enable it to serve as the basis for computers and other electronic devices. It is usually a solid chemical element or compound that conducts electricity under certain conditions but not under others. This makes it an ideal means of controlling electric power and everyday devices.

A substance that can conduct electricity is called a conductor, and a substance that cannot conduct electricity is called an insulator.

What is a semiconductor? (Source: Internet)
What is a semiconductor? (Source: Internet)

Semiconductors have properties that fall somewhere between the conductor and insulator. A diode, an integrated circuit (IC), and a transistor are all made of semiconductors.

Conductivity can vary depending on the current or voltage applied to a control electrode, or the intensity of infrared radiation ( IR), visible light, ultraviolet, or X-rays The specific properties of a semiconductor depend on the impurities, so-called dopants, added to it.

How do semiconductors work?

Most semiconductors are made up of crystals made of different materials. To better understand how semiconductors work, users need to understand atoms and how electrons are arranged within the atom. Electrons are arranged in layers called shells within an atom. The outermost shell of the atom is known as the valence shell.

How do semiconductors work (Source: Internet)
How do semiconductors work (Source: Internet)

The electrons in this valence shell are those that form bonds with neighboring atoms. These are called covalent bonds. Most conductors only have one electron in the valence shell. However, semiconductors typically have four electrons in their valence shell.

However, if neighboring atoms are of the same valence, the electrons can combine with the valence electrons of other atoms. The atoms organize themselves into crystal structures. We make most semiconductors with this type of crystal, mainly silicon crystals.

How can you distinguish N-type and P-type semiconductors?

An N-type semiconductor carries current mainly in the form of negatively charged electrons, similar to conducting current in a wire. A P-type semiconductor carries current primarily as a lack of electrons called holes. A hole has a positive electrical charge, equal and opposite to that of an electron. In a semiconductor material, the flow of holes is in the opposite direction to the flow of electrons.

Differences between semiconductor N-type and P-type (Source: Internet) 

Elemental semiconductors consist of antimony, arsenic, boron, carbon, germanium, selenium, silicon, sulfur, and tellurium. Among them, silicon is the most well-known and forms the basis of most integrated circuits.

Common semiconductor compounds are gallium arsenide, indium antimonide, and the oxides of most metals. We also commonly use Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) in high gain, low signal, low noise amplifier devices.

A semiconductor device can fulfill the function of the original vacuum tube, but with hundreds of times the volume. Like a microprocessor chip, a single integrated circuit can do the work of a series of vacuum tubes that would fill a large building and require its own power plant.

What is a semiconductor chip?

There is a semiconducting substance between the conductor and the insulator. Controls and manages the flow of electricity in electronic devices and devices. As a result, it is a popular component of electronic chips manufactured for computer components and a variety of electronic devices, including solid-state memory.

What is a semiconductor chip? (Source: Internet)
What is a semiconductor chip? (Source: Internet)

What is an RF semiconductor?

A radio frequency (RF) semiconductor is a device which is used to turn on or rectify current in electronic devices. RF semiconductors operate in a radio frequency spectrum from approximately 3 KHz to 300 GHz.

What is an RF semiconductor? (Source: Internet) 

What is a semiconductor optical amplifier?

A semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) is an element found in semiconductors, the Light amplified. Users find SOA in optical transceiver modules used to enable communication between data centers.

In this scenario, SOA amplifies the optical signal used for Ethernet communication. This approach helps to compensate for transmission losses.

A semiconductor optical amplifier (Source: Internet) 
A semiconductor optical amplifier (Source: Internet) 

What is the difference between an intrinsic and an extrinsic semiconductor?

The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors is their shape. 

For instance, intrinsic semiconductors have a pure form and consist of only one type of material. They didn't add any impurities.

Extrinsic semiconductors, on the other hand, are impure. They include several intrinsic semiconductors to which other substances are added to change their properties. These substances are typically trivalent or pentavalent dopant impurities.

An intrinsic and an extrinsic semiconductor (Source: Internet)
An intrinsic and an extrinsic semiconductor (Source: Internet)

What is a fable semiconductor?

The term fable describes companies that design, manufacture, and sell computer hardware and chips, but they don't build their own silicon wafers or chips. Instead, they outsource manufacturing to a foundry or other manufacturing facility.

Semiconductor Manufacturing

Traditionally, the entire production process is controlled by semiconductor companies, from design to manufacture. However, many chipmakers are increasingly outsourcing production to others in the industry. Foundry companies whose sole business is manufacturing have recently come to the fore and offer attractive subcontracting options. In addition to the foundries, the ranks of increasingly specialized chip designers and testers are beginning to grow. Chip companies are developing more and more efficiently.

Semiconductor Manufacturing (Source: Internet)
Semiconductor Manufacturing (Source: Internet)

Chip production now resembles the kitchen of a gourmet restaurant, where chefs queue up to add just the right amount of flavor to the mix. In the 1980s, chip manufacturers lived with returns (number of control gear manufactured) of 10 to 30%. Chip manufacturers are now aiming for efficiencies (number of control gears out of all manufactured) of no less than 90%, which requires very expensive manufacturing processes. 

As a result, many semiconductor companies do design and marketing but choose to outsource some or all of the manufacturing. These companies, known as fabless chipmakers, have high growth potential because they are not weighed down by the overhead costs associated with fabricating.

Learn about semiconductors

Despite the recent shortage of chips to reinforce their "critical" status, semiconductors have now established themselves as truly essential industry. The world could not develop as strongly as it is today without the development of technology and the semiconductor industry.

Need some tips? We’re here to help

A semiconductor is an important factor for the development of modern technology in the future, so the earlier access is, the better for technology businesses.

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Anh Son Ngo

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Major: Business Administration, but I'm looking to try my hand at marketing. Hobby: Sports and photography Job: Ads rating/freelancer content Desire: to experience many areas of marketing to find the aspect that I like the most

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