Semiconductor

A class of materials, such as silicon and germanium, whose electrical properties lie between those of conductors (such as copper and aluminum) and insulators (such as glass and rubber). The term is also used to denote electronic devices made from semiconductor materials.

At the atomic level, semiconductors are crystals that in their pure state are resistive, but when the proper impurities are added (this process is called doping) in trace amounts (often measured in parts per billion), display much lower resistance along with other interesting and useful properties. Depending on the selection of impurities added, semiconductor material of two electrically-different types can be created -- one that is electron-rich (called N-type, where N stands for Negative), or one that is electron-poor (called P-type, where P stands for Positive).


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