Related topics: solar cells

Scientists spy unstable semiconductors

Scientists from Cardiff University have, for the first time, spotted previously unseen "instabilities" on the surface of a common compound semiconductor material.

A cavity leads to a strong interaction between light and matter

Researchers have succeeded in creating an efficient quantum-mechanical light-matter interface using a microscopic cavity. Within this cavity, a single photon is emitted and absorbed up to 10 times by an artificial atom. This ...

Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

When a current is applied to a thin layer of tungsten diselenide, it begins to glow in a highly unusual fashion. In addition to ordinary light, which other semiconductor materials can emit, tungsten diselenide also produces ...

Unlocking a 140-year-old secret in physics

Semiconductors are the basic building blocks of digital devices. Improvements in semiconductor functionality and performance are likewise enabling next-generation applications of semiconductors for computing, sensing and ...

Keeping cool with quantum wells

University of Tokyo researchers have announced a new approach for electrical cooling without the need for moving parts. By applying a bias voltage to quantum wells made of the semiconductor aluminum gallium arsenide, electrons ...

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Semiconductor

A semiconductor is a material that has a resistivity value between that of a conductor and an insulator. The conductivity of a semiconductor material can be varied under an external electrical field. Devices made from semiconductor materials are the foundation of modern electronics, including radio, computers, telephones, and many other devices. Semiconductor devices include the transistor, solar cells, many kinds of diodes including the light-emitting diode, the silicon controlled rectifier, and digital and analog integrated circuits. Solar photovoltaic panels are large semiconductor devices that directly convert light energy into electrical energy. In a metallic conductor, current is carried by the flow of electrons. In semiconductors, current can be carried either by the flow of electrons or by the flow of positively-charged "holes" in the electron structure of the material.

Silicon is used to create most semiconductors commercially. Dozens of other materials are used, including germanium, gallium arsenide, and silicon carbide. A pure semiconductor is often called an “intrinsic” semiconductor. The conductivity, or ability to conduct, of semiconductor material can be drastically changed by adding other elements, called “impurities” to the melted intrinsic material and then allowing the melt to solidify into a new and different crystal. This process is called "doping".

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