What Are Compound Semiconductors?
Compound semiconductors are a group of materials that has properties somewhere between conventional silicon and pure carbon. The carbon component comes from graphite or graphene, which is essentially layers of carbon atoms bonded together. Consequently, compounds are known as quasi-carbon grains since they have some properties similar to pure carbon but with the ability to conduct electricity. Depending on their composition, compound semiconductors can be either an n-type or a p-type semiconductor: -type semiconductors are commonly referred to as oxidized, or negative electron conductors because they reduce or oxidize other materials when in contact with them. On the other hand, -type semiconductors are known as reduced or positive electron conductors because they oxidize other materials when in contact with them.
How Are Compound Semiconductors Made?
Compound semiconductors are made in three different ways: – The first is by depositing a thin carbon layer on a silicon wafer, which is used as a “seed” layer for the carbon to grow on. The whole semiconductor is then put into a furnace to bake it at high temperatures to activate its carbon. – The second method is to mix silicon and graphite together, which is a softer and more forgiving method than the first approach. – The third method is to mix silicon, carbon, and other elements together to create a compound semiconductor. This is the most complex but is also the most flexible method since it can create semiconductors with a variety of properties.
N-type semiconductors are positively charged because they have extra electrons attached to their atoms. This gives them the ability to oxidize other materials and gain electrons, which is done by passing an electrical current through them. Because N-type semiconductors have extra electrons, they’re also known as electron “donors.” N-type semiconductors are commonly made with germanium and silicon. Germanium is layered on a silicon wafer with the silicon used as a “seed” layer for the germanium to grow on. The whole semiconductor is then put into a furnace to bake it at high temperatures to activate the germanium. Silicon is mixed with carbon, which is a softer and more forgiving method than growing germanium on a silicon wafer.
P-type semiconductors are negatively charged because they have a shortage of electrons attached to their atoms. This gives them the ability to reduce other materials and oxidize them, which is done by passing an electrical current through them. Because P-type semiconductors have a shortage of electrons, they’re also known as electron “acceptors.” P-type semiconductors are commonly made with boron, silicon, and germanium. Silicon is mixed with other elements, which is a softer and more forgiving method than growing boron on a silicon wafer. Boron is layered on a silicon wafer with the silicon used as a “seed” layer for the boron to grow on. The whole semiconductor is then put into a furnace to bake it at high temperatures to activate the boron.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
Light emitting diodes, also known as LEDs, are semiconductor devices that produce light when a current passes through them. The semiconductor material inside the device is an n-type semiconductor, commonly made from gallium nitride (GaN), indium phosphide (InP), or gallium arsenide (GaAs). The n-type semiconductor is mixed with a p-type semiconductor, typically made from aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP). This creates a p-n junction, which is the point where positive and negative charge carriers meet and start creating electricity. The electrical current passing through the semiconductor material in the diode creates photons of light, which is the energy of light particles.
Transistors are semiconductor devices that are used to change or control electrical current. They’re made from different combinations of n-type and p-type semiconductors. The n-type semiconductors are commonly made from silicon, germanium, or silicon germanium (SiGe). The p-type semiconductors are commonly made from silicon, germanium, or SiGe.
Compound semiconductors are quasi-carbon materials that are hybrids of conventional silicon and pure carbon. They are used in many modern technologies, including LEDs, transistors, and solar cells. These materials are complex and often difficult to produce. However, they have many useful properties and are used in various types of electronics. Compound semiconductors continue to advance and improve these properties, so they’ll likely be used in even more technologies in the future.