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Semiconductor

Group 8: Visco, Sarah D.C. Villanueva, Calvin Paguia, Patrick Cabacungan, Melbourne Dumol, Trexie

A semiconductor is a material which has electrical conductivity to a degree between that of a metal (such as copper) and that of an insulator (such as glass). It is a substance, usually a solid chemical element or compound, that can conduct electricity under some conditions but not others, making it a good medium for the control of electrical current.

Materials:
A large number of elements and compounds have semiconducting properties, including:

Certain pure elements found in Group XIV of the periodic table; the most commercially important of these elements are silicon and germanium.

Binary compounds, particularly between elements in Groups III and V, such as gallium arsenide, Groups II and VI, groups IV and VI, and between different group IV elements, e.g. silicon carbide. Certain ternary compounds, oxides and alloys.
Organic semiconductors, made of organic compounds.

Properties:
Variable Conductivity
A pure semiconductor is a poor electrical conductor as a consequence of having just the right number of electrons to completely fill its valence bonds. Through various techniques (e.g., doping or gating), the semiconductor can be modified to have excess of electrons (becoming an n-type semiconductor) or a deficiency of electrons (becoming a p-type semiconductor). In both cases, the semiconductor becomes much more conductive (the conductivity can be increased by one million fold or more). Semiconductor devices exploit this effect to shape electrical current

Junctions:
When doped semiconductors are joined to metals, to different semiconductors, and to the same semiconductor with different doping, the resulting junction often strips the electron excess or deficiency out from the semiconductor near the junction. This depletion region is rectifying (only allowing current to flow in one direction), and used to further shape electrical currents in semiconductor devices

Energetic electrons travel far


Electrons can be excited across the energy band gap (see Physics below) of a semiconductor by various means. These electrons can carry their excess energy over distance scales of microns before dissipating their energy into heat, significantly longer than is possible in metals. This effect is essential to the operation of bipolar junction transistors.

Types:

Intrinsic
An intrinsic semiconductor material is chemically very pure and possesses poor conductivity. It has equal numbers of negative carriers (electrons) and positive carriers (holes).

Extrinsic
An extrinsic semiconductor is an improved intrinsic semiconductor with a small amount of impurities added by a process, known as doping, which alters the electrical properties of the semiconductor and improves its conductivity.

Unique Property:
A semiconductor may have a number of unique properties, one of which is the ability to change conductivity by the addition of impurities ("doping") or by interaction with another phenomenon, such as an electric field or light; this ability makes a semiconductor very useful for constructing a device that can amplify, switch, or convert an energy input. The modern understanding of the properties of a semiconductor relies on quantum physics to explain the movement of electrons inside a lattice of atoms.

Uses:
Some of the most important semiconductor devices are diodes, transistors, and thyristors. These semiconductor devices have changed the face of electronics today. Transistors have virtually replaced vacuum tubes and the valves. Semiconductors find wide applications because of their compactness, reliability, and low cost. They can handle a wide range of current and voltage. One of the most important reasons of choosing transistors, thyristors or any other semiconductor device is their ability to be integrated into complex but readily manufactured modules. IGBT modules, thyristor and diode modules are today the preferred choice for many OEM and replacement market.

Semiconductors are widely used to make electronic devices. They are the materials that allow conductivity between metals and insulators. Mostly used in diodes and transistors. Some of the most important semiconductor devices are diodes, transistors, and thyristors. These semiconductor devices have changed the face of electronics today. Transistors have virtually replaced vacuum tubes and the valves. Semiconductors find wide applications because of their compactness, reliability, and low cost. They can handle a wide range of current and voltage. One of the most important reasons of choosing transistors, thyristors or any other semiconductor device is their ability to be integrated into complex but readily manufactured modules. IGBT modules, thyristor and diode modules are today the preferred choice for many OEM and replacement market.

Advantages & Disadvantages:


Different semiconductor materials differ in their properties. Thus, in comparison with silicon, compound semiconductors have both advantages and disadvantages. For example, gallium arsenide (GaAs) has six times higher electron mobility than silicon, which allows faster operation; wider band gap, which allows operation of power devices at higher temperatures, and gives lower thermal noise to low power devices at room temperature; its direct band gap gives it more favorable optoelectronic properties than the indirect band gap of silicon; it can be alloyed to ternary and quaternary compositions, with adjustable band gap width, allowing light emission at chosen wavelengths, and allowing e.g. matching to wavelengths with lowest losses in optical fibers. GaAs can be also grown in a semi-insulating form, which is suitable as a lattice-matching insulating substrate for GaAs devices. Conversely, silicon is robust, cheap, and easy to process, whereas GaAs is brittle and expensive, and insulation layers can not be created by just growing an oxide layer; GaAs is therefore used only where silicon is not sufficient.

By alloying multiple compounds, some semiconductor materials are tunable, e.g., in band gap or lattice constant. The result is ternary, quaternary, or even quinary compositions. Ternary compositions allow adjusting the band gap within the range of the involved binary compounds; however, in case of combination of direct and indirect band gap materials there is a ratio where indirect band gap prevails, limiting the range usable for optoelectronics; e.g. AlGaAs LEDs are limited to 660 nm by this. Lattice constants of the compounds also tend to be different, and the lattice mismatch against the substrate, dependent on the mixing ratio, causes defects in amounts dependent on the mismatch magnitude; this influences the ratio of achievable radiative/nonradiative recombinations and determines the luminous efficiency of the device. Quaternary and higher compositions allow adjusting simultaneously the band gap and the lattice

Benefits:
Glass vacuum tubes, the predecessors of semiconductors, were at one time used to direct electrical current through electronic devices, such as radios. Vacuum tubes were large, fragile and unwieldy, compared to semiconductors, according to FactsonFile.com. The electrical properties of semiconductors were first observed in the 1870s and are the basis of the integrated circuit, which is also known as a computer chip. Chips are much smaller than vacuum tubes and can perform many more functions while using much less power.

Importance:
Engineering importance of semiconductors results from the fact that they can be conductors as well as insulators. Semiconductors are especially important because varying conditions like temperature and impurity content can easily alter their conductivity. The combination of different semiconductor types together generates devices with special electrical properties, which allow control of electrical signals. Semiconductors are employed in the manufacture of electronic devices and integrated circuits. Imagine life without electronic devices. There would be no radios, no TV's, no computers, no video games, and poor medical diagnostic equipment.

Semiconductors: Articles, News, Reports

Despite Challenges, Industrial Semiconductor Market Reports Positive Q1


The market for semiconductors used in industrial electronics

applications relished a better-than-expected first quarter as macroeconomic headwinds turned out to be less severe than initially feared, according to the latest Industrial Electronics report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).Worldwide industrial electronics chip revenue in the first quarter reached $7.71 billion, up 1 percent from $7.63 billion in the final quarter of 2012. Although the uptick seemed modest, the increase marked a turnaround from the 3 percent decline in the fourth quarter. It also represents a major improvement compared to the 3 percent contraction of the market a year ago in the first quarter of 2011, as shown in the attached figure.

GLOBAL SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY POSTS HIGHEST SALES TOTAL OF 2013 IN JULY


PR Newswire-Sales in Americas up 21.5 percent year-over-year; global

sales increase for fifth straight month


WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The

Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today announced that worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $25.53 billion for the month of July 2013, the highest total of 2013 and an increase of 5.1 percent over July 2012. Global sales in July were 2.6 percent higher than the previous month's total of $24.88 billion. Sales in the Americas increased 21.5 percent compared to July 2012, marking the region's largest year-over-year increase in more than two years. All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.
"The consistent, upward trajectory of global semiconductor sales continued

in July, with the Americas showing particular strength and surging ahead of last year's pace," said Brian Toohey, president and CEO, Semiconductor

Industry Association. "Sales

increased in all regions

advances

Not so long ago, a computer filled a whole room and radio receivers were as big as washing machines. In recent decades, electronic devices have shrunk considerably in size and this trend is expected to continue, leading to enormous cost and energy savings, as well as increasing speed.

Key to shrinking devices is Terascale computing, involving

ultrafast technology supported by single microchips that can perform trillions of operations per second. Using Terascale technology, semiconductor components commonly used to make integrated circuits for all kinds of appliances could measure less than 10 nanometres within several years. Keeping in mind that a nanometre is less than 1 billionth of a metre, electronic devices have the potential to become phenomenally smaller and require significantly less energy than today - a development that will revolutionise the electronics industry. Despite progress, the technology for producing these ultra-small devices has a long way to go before being reliable. To advance

the work, the EU funded project TRAMS ('Terascale reliable adaptive memory systems') sought to improve reliability by improving chip design.
The TRAMS team

conducted in-depth