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Silicon Wafers Semiconductors Silicon is the raw material most often used in integrated circuit IC fabrication Integrated circuits are microelectronic semiconductors devices consisting of many if not thousands of interconnected transistors Silicon is the second most abundant substance on earth It is extracted from rocks and common beach sand and put through an exhaustive purification process In this form silicon is the purist industrial substance that man produces with impurities comprising less than one part in a billion That is the equivalent of one tennis ball in a string of golf balls stretching from the earth to the moon Semiconductors are usually materials which have energy-band gaps smaller than 2eV An important property of semiconductors is the ability to change their resistivity over several orders of magnitude by doping Semiconductors have electrical resistivities between 105 and 107 Ohms Semiconductors can be crystalline or amorphous Elemental semiconductors are simple - element semiconductor materials such as silicon or germanium Silicon is the most common semiconductor material used today It is used for diodes transistors integrated circuits memory modules infrared detection and lenses light-emitting diodes LED photosensors strain gages solar cells charge transfer devices radiation detectors and a variety of other devices Silicon belongs to the group IV in the periodic table It is a grey brittle material with a diamond cubic structure Silicon is conventionally doped with Phosphorus Arsenic and Antimony and Boron Aluminum and Gallium acceptors The energy gap of silicon is 11 eV This value permits the operation of silicon semiconductors devices at higher temperatures than germanium In the early 1900s before integrated circuits and silicon chips were invented computers and radios were made with vacuum tubes Vacuum tubes were invented by Dr DeForest in 1906 Throughout the first half of the 20th century vacuum tubes were used to conduct modulate and amplify electrical signals They made possible a variety of new products including the AM Radio Amplitude Modulation and the computer
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