Sunday, October 10, 2010


Hey guys,
I'll try to start off light, as I've been at work all day and I'm beat.

The topic today is a definition of "Semiconductors." Materials that conduct electricity well are called "Conductors." Materials that are terrible at conducting electricity are called "Insulators." What if the device we're making needs something in between? What if we need to vary the conductivity of the material for many different applications? Those are "Semiconductors."

Glass is a good insulator, and copper is a great conductor. If I take something in between, such as Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), it works well for many applications other than just conducting electrity from place to place or stopping it. It's neither a conductor or an insulator. It's a semiconductor.

What if we wanted to make these Gallium Arsenide semiconductors with a wide, predictable range of conductivity for use by many other people for many different applications? We can, by "doping" the semiconductor with atoms from other elements. More on that later.

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