Beyond the sleek screens of our smartphones, laptops and televisions lies an unseen architect of the digital age. Despite being as small as five nanometres – or 1/20th the thickness of a human hair – semiconductors have become giants of the modern economy.
Made from elements such as silicon and germanium, semiconductors are materials that can conduct electricity under certain conditions and act as insulators under others. Their unique behaviour is due to the arrangement of atoms in their structure. In electronic devices, such as transistors, semiconductors are used to control the flow of electrical current.
When a voltage is applied, it allows the controlled movement of electrons, enabling the manipulation of electrical signals. This ability to switch between conducting and insulating states is fundamental to the functioning of transistors, diodes and integrated circuits (ICs), serving as the cornerstone of modern technology.
The market has been driven in recent years by the ever-increasing rise in sectors such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the healthcare sector – where semiconductors are instrumental in medical imaging, diagnostics and the development of innovative medical devices.
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