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Silicon Silicon is the raw material most often used in integrated circuit ICfabrication It is the second most abundant substance on the earth It isextracted from rocks and common beach sand and put through an exhaustivepurification process In this form silicon is the purist industrialsubstance that man produces with impurities comprising less than one part ina billion That is the equivalent of one tennis ball in a string of golfballs stretching from the earth to the moon Semiconductors are usually materials which have energy-band gaps smallerthan 2eV An important property of semiconductors is the ability to changetheir resistivity over several orders of magnitude by doping Semiconductorshave electrical resistivities between 10-5 and 107 ohms Semiconductors can be crystalline or amorphous Elemental semiconductorsare simple-element semiconductor materials such as silicon or germanium Silicon is the most common semiconductor material used today It isused for diodes transistors integrated circuits memories infrareddetection and lenses light-emitting diodes LED photosensors straingages solar cells charge transfer devices radiation detectors and avariety of other devices Silicon belongs to the group IV in the periodictable It is a grey brittle material with a diamond cubic structureSilicon is conventionally doped with Phosphorus Arsenic and Antimony andBoron Aluminum and Gallium acceptors The energy gap of silicon is 11eV This value permits the operation of silicon semiconductors devices athigher temperatures than germanium Now I will give you some brief history of the evolution of electronicswhich will help you understand more about semiconductors and the siliconchip In the early 1900s before integrated circuits and silicon chipswere invented computers and radios were made with vacuum tubes Thevacuum tube was invented in 1906 by DrLee DeForest Throughout the firsthalf of the 20th century vacuum tubes were used to conduct modulate andamplify electrical signals They made possible a variety of new productsincluding the radio and the computer However vacuum tubes had someinherent problems They were bulky delicate and expensive consumed agreat deal of power
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