Definition of Semiconductor –
A semiconductor can be defined as a material that has conductivity lying between that of a metal and an insulator. An important property of semiconductor is its energy band that is, in the range of forbidden energies within the electronic structure of semiconductor material.
Semiconductors typically have bandgaps ranging between 1 and 4 eV, while insulators have larger band gaps, often greater than 5 eV.
Semiconducting materials are very sensitive to impurities in the crystal lattice as these can have a drastic effect on the number of mobile charge carriers present. The controlled addition of these impurities is known as doping and allows the tuning of the electronic properties of semiconductor material, and doping an important requirement for technological applications.
Properties of Semiconductors
It can conduct electricity under preferable conditions or circumstances. This unique property makes it a superb material to conduct electricity in a controlled manner as needed.
Unlike conductors, the charge a carrier in semiconductors excites on the application of external energy called thermal agitation. It causes a certain number of excited electrons to cross the energy gap and reached the conduction band, leaving an equal amount of unoccupied energy states, i.e. holes in the valance band.
• Resistivity: 10-5 to 106 Ωm
• Conductivity: 105 to 10-6 mho/m
• Temperature coefficient of resistance: Negative
• Current Flow: Due to the participation of electrons and holes
Types of Semiconductors
Semiconductors can be classified as:
• Intrinsic Semiconductor
• Extrinsic Semiconductor
In the intrinsic type of semiconductor material is made up of only a single type of element.
Ex; Germanium, Silicon
The conductivity of semiconductors can be altered by adding a small number of suitable atoms called impurity atom. The process of adding impurity atoms to the pure semiconductor is called doping. Usually, only 1 atom in 107 is replaced by a dopant atom in the doped semiconductor.
An extrinsic semiconductor can be further classified into:
• N-type Semiconductor
• P-type Semiconductor
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