The roots of our digital lifestyles certainly are semiconductors, which allow for the creation of complex transistor structures. Semiconductors are crystalline or amorphous (non-crystalline) solids with distinct electrical characteristics.
Their conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate introduction (doping) of impurities into the crystal structure, which lowers the resistance but also permits the creation of semiconductor junctions between the differently doped regions.
The behavior of electrons at these junctions is the basis of transistors and ultimately, all modern electronics. The properties of a semiconductor rely the movement of electrons and their abundance as well as areas where electrons are absent but could occur (holes). Doping greatly increases the number of electrons within the crystal. When a doped semiconductor contains mostly free holes it is called “p-type,” and when it contains mostly free electrons it is known as “n-type.” The junction between the p-type and n-type regions are responsible for the useful electronic behavior.
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