Some words about our semiconductor devices

Few people would think of the term semiconductor when watching tv, using computers or talking on the phone, even though all of these equipment do not only contain semiconducting materials, but their operation would be unimaginable without these materials and the circuit components made of them. Just a few examples how semiconductors are used: Integrated circuits – chips – are just such condensations of semiconductors; the micro-processors of the computers today (CPU) contain millions of transistors; light emitting diodes are used to illuminate the LED based television screens from behind. Philips for instance produces screens where LEDs were arranged in 10 rows and 16 columns, in other words in 160 lighting segments. Each of these segments contains 9 LED units. Such television sets are capable of saving up to 40% of energy. Another very important area of use for the semiconductors is the manufacture of solar cells. Photovoltaic cells convert the energy radiated by the Sun into electricity. Currently the most effective photovoltaic cells have an approximately 18% efficiency rate, but this is expected to improve a lot. Solar cells have already been developed which operate at around ~40% efficiency rate under laboratory circumstances. And the list could go on and on, of course. The most often used semiconductor material is silicon (Si)