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Semiconductor
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Semiconductor Devices
Concepts
Devices

A semiconductor is a material whose conductivity characteristics can be varied. That is, a semiconductor is any material that can function as an insulator under certain conditions and as a conductor under other conditions.

Overview

A semiconductor is a material that can vary in conductivity - ranging from a being an insulator to being a conductor, depending on the conditions. Although many pure elements satisfy this definition, the semiconductor industry relies on just a few common ones: silicon, germanium, and gallium for the manufacturing of electronic devices.

In its pure state, a semiconductor is referred to as an intrinsic semiconductor. The properties of intrinsic semiconductors can be finely controlled through the intentional introduction of impurities called dopants. The new semiconductor which underwent a doping process is called an extrinsic semiconductor. Doping allows the manipulation of certain regions of the semiconductor called n-type and p-type, making the region more negative or positive respectively. The combination of those two types forms the basis for all semiconductor devices.


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