We know how the technology industry is captivating all aspects of our lives in the current times. From waking up to the alarms in the morning to being a part of every business area, we are relying on gadgets and new-age technologies for everything. So it goes without saying why semiconductors are in such sharp demand, and this time India and the US ink up major MoUs to globally collaborate to take charge of each other’s potential areas, leverage the strengths of each other, build innovation ecosystems, and to promote commercial activities regarding technologies. So aren’t we curious about what purpose semiconductors play in revolutionizing the technological spectrum? Stay dedicated to this entire feed to learn more about it.
What Are Semiconductors?
So an element or a compound that can conduct electricity because of its very low resistivity, when an electric current is passed through it is called a conductor, and one that doesn’t is an insulator, which has quite a high resistivity to current. Semiconductors fall somewhat between these two extremes. They have specific electrical properties, and their resistivities change according to variations in temperature. At low temperatures, they cannot conduct electricity. As the temperature rises, they can easily pass current through them. Also, a pure semiconductor is less efficient than one with some added impurities.
Silicon and germanium are some of the most common semiconductors. Pure conductors are not very commercially viable. In a process called doping, small impurities are added to them to increase their conductivity. As pentavalent (Phosphorus, Arsenic) or trivalent (Gallium, Aluminium) impurities are added to either n-type or p-type semiconductors, respectively, the charge carriers move from the valence to conduction bands, overcoming the energy gap and thus conducting electricity.
History Of Semiconductors
The origin of semiconductors dates back to the 1870s with the invention of rectifiers. Later in the mid-1900s, Bardeen and Bratton invented the transistor at the Bell Laboratories in the US, followed by the junction transistors by Shockley. This invention also helped them win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956.
In 1959, integrated circuits (IC) started being manufactured and found wide applications in electric and electronic appliances. Japan saw a wave of electronic calculators on the market in the 1970s. The VLSI and ULSI chips in the 1980s and 1990s put them into high-scale production in video games, personal computers, mobile phones, etc.
The integrated circuits (IC) were minuscule in size, light in weight, and had an ample number of mathematical operations integrated into them. This enabled them to perform multiple functions at any time.
What Role Do The Semiconductors Play In The Tech Sector?
Developments in semiconductor technology have made electronic devices smaller, faster, and extremely reliable. From the invention of radio sets to televisions to mobile phones and present-day smartphones, and highly capable video games, semiconductors form a pillar of the electronic industry. Apart from that, the huge range of advanced equipment used in the medical and diagnostic industries, military systems, and the variety of everyday gadgets surrounding us all have some items of semiconductor technology in them.
In the present-day digital economy, semiconductor materials will find exponential usage in providing various technology-based solutions.
Top 5 Semiconductor Trends To Look Out For
Internet of Things (IoT): The Internet of Things will certainly find a lot more applications in the coming future than it already has. IoT is a system of interrelated digital and computing devices with the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-computer interaction. An IoT uses a couple of embedded systems like processors, hardware, and sensors that collect and send the sensor data they acquire. IoT devices are gaining more significance due to their diverse connectivities in chip manufacturing and various production operations. Startups in China and Taiwan are investing in IoT chips, combining event-driven architecture with AI computations.
Artificial Intelligence: AI solutions are witnessing exponential growth, forcing the microchip industry to produce AI-powered hardware. Semiconductors integrate AI into manufacturing workflows, optimizing operations and accelerating product quality. Korean startups are offering domain-specific AI processors, using silicon kernels to modulate processor architecture suitable for deep learning algorithms.
5G: 5G-oriented devices are on the rise, and thus the demands for semiconductors are skyrocketing. Chip manufacturing companies are focusing on developing tech-driven solutions to promote more low-latency connectivity systems. Startups in the US are using silicon-based 5G amplifiers that use millimeter waves for noise-free, fast, and energy-efficient data transmissions.
Automotive Chips: Autonomous devices with self-driving capabilities will be in greater demand, requiring electronic solutions like better sensors and hardware to deal with real-time issues and complex analytics. Microcontroller chips (MCU) will deliver highly stable and secured solutions for automotive control, autopilot systems, and more.
Sustainable Manufacturing: Chip fabrication industries are making a switch to alternative fuel systems like biogas or green hydrogen due to their high emission tendencies produced by the manufacture of tools, chemicals, raw materials, etc. A US-based company manufactures recycled silicon carbide by converting agricultural remains into semiconductor abrasives that are widely used as wafer materials.
Semiconductors: Future And Beyond
Semiconductors are building blocks of new-age technologies and are paving the path in the way we work, communicate, treat illness, and many more. Chip designers and manufacturers will be collaborating more, and with effective government and agency policies, they shall be carving out a way to transform the technological industry.