• Question: how much are semiconductors and whn are they used/what are they used in?

    Asked by blue to Adam, Eloise, Iona, Jarrod, Yip on 18 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Jarrod Hart

      Jarrod Hart answered on 18 Jun 2016:

      Semiconductors are materials that ‘can’ conduct electricity, but only a little…

      What makes them really useful is what happens when you join two different ones together. It turns out that some types have loose electrons and some are a little ‘short’ on electrons, and at the interface of these two types you can get a situation where elctric current can only flow in one direction…

      Sounds trivial, but all the computers in the world have millions of these two-sides crystals (called P-N junctions) inside, as they are used in diodes and transistors.

      You will need to study physics and/or electronics to learn more!

    • Photo: Man Hang Yip

      Man Hang Yip answered on 18 Jun 2016:

      Semiconductors, as Jarrod has explained, conduct electricity but only under some conditions. It allows very precise control of the flow of electric current.
      It is used everywhere. An LED light is manufactured using semiconductors. (LED = light emitting diode, and a diode allows electricity to flow in one direction and not the other)
      A electrical and electronic engineer can design products that pack so many of these semiconductors in, and these products become really “smart”. An example is a smartphone.

    • Photo: Iona Strawson

      Iona Strawson answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      The invention of the semiconductor is a turning point in modern technology.

      They are used in lots of things, like phones a Yip said, and computers.