Semiconductors – what, how, and where?

A major component in the electronics industry, semiconductors or the Integrated Circuits (IC) are viewed upon as the brain of the current and future electronics.  They have already become a crucial part of many electronic devices, thanks to their electrical properties.

What are semiconductors?

The substance which has an electrical conductivity that falls between that of an insulator and a conductor is known as a semiconductor. It could be pure elements or a compound. The most common semiconductors are silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium. The conductivity of these elements or compounds is changed in accordance with the requirement using a process called doping. The process involves adding small impurities, which will result in a change in the material’s conductivity.

There are two types, namely the N-types, which carry only electrons of a negative charge, and the P-type, which has deficient electrons known as holes with positive charges in them.

How do semiconductors work?

The function of a semiconductor is similar to that of a vacuum tube but only in a greater magnitude. It has control over the electricity flow in any device. They allow the flow of electricity subject to certain conditions, which makes them a safer option to use in many devices. The semiconductors are used to switch off or on the flow of electricity as required and when it is required.

Why are semiconductors important?

Semiconductors have helped in the advancement of much modern-day electronic equipment in healthcare, military, energy industry, transportation, communications, and more. Without them, we cannot be where we are now as there would be no smart devices, computers, video games, etc.

A single chip of semiconductor has quite a lot of mini transistors on it, and there are nearly 100 billion such chips in use around the globe right now. It is the presence of these semiconductors that we now have devices that are highly reliable, faster, and yet compact in size.

Semiconductors is also a thriving industry with continuous development paving the way for more jobs and a better economy while aiding to build technologies that will be the foundation of our future. With their use expanding into different industrial sectors, many new companies are being established for their production, creating jobs for electronics engineers.

They have also become the deciding factor of the competitiveness in any industry and even among countries.

The industries where semiconductors are used extensively include Electrical engineering, Technology support, Applications engineering, sales, marketing, software engineering, etc.

What is in store for semiconductors?

If semiconductors are the brain, then the optical fiber is the backbone of the communications industry. Bringing upon a complete revolution in the telecommunications sector, optical fiber technology has made fast advances across multiple industrial segments in the world.  There has already been enough research done in-depth in using semiconductor fiber optics, which will help for an even better alternative to the current silica fiber optics or the glass fiber optics transmitting both light and electricity. The advent of these would eliminate the use of conversion chips at the end. But these would need quite a few transmission boards, which can prove to be an expensive affair. It remains to be seen how this industry will flourish in the future, and currently, the work is still underway.