Understanding Semiconductors and Conductivity


April 11, 2022

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When determining which wafer material is right for your business, there are all kinds of important considerations to take into account. One of them is conductivity. To give an example, germanium wafers are more conductive than silicon wafers.

This begs the question: how conductive do semiconductors need to be? Today, we’ll discuss why it’s important for semiconductors to not be fully conductive, and the factors that can influence how conductive one is.

a gloved hand handling a Germanium Wafer

Facts About Semiconductors and Conductivity

Why Does Semiconductor Conductivity Matter?

As the name suggests, conduction is essential to the function of semiconductors. Because semiconductors are able to resist and enable the flow of electricity, they can be more easily manipulated to switch back and forth between flow and resistance.

This is essential for any task where the flow of electricity needs to be stopped or started. Changing that flow is how we control electrical current.

What Determines Semiconductor Conductivity?

The conductivity of a material is dictated by its free electrons. The more free electrons it has, the more conductive it’s going to be. This is largely dictated by the crystal structure of semiconductors, as well as the ways that valence electrons interact with atoms.

Higher temperatures enable valence electrons to move to the conduction band. This in turn increases their conductivity.

Conductivity can also be influenced by the presence of dopants. In fact, semiconductors can be split into two categories:

  • Intrinsic Semiconductors are conductive without dopants.
  • Extrinsic semiconductors are conductive because of the presence of dopants.
gloved hands working on a Germanium Wafer

Looking for Germanium Wafers?

You’ve come to the right place! At Wafer World, we’re committed to helping clients find the wafers that are perfect for their needs. Silicon wafers just scratch the surface. We offer germanium wafers, InP wafers, and many more.

Have any questions about what we can do for you? Want to learn more about the wafers you’re currently using for your business, or how you can find better ones to incorporate? Please contact us today. We’re always eager to talk about semiconductors.