Why Are Semiconductors Important?


If you’re halfway through our JC Physics tuition class, you may not deem the semiconductor as super important, but we are here to change that thinking. In this article, we will look at how this minor part in your physics tuition syllabus has changed the world.

Semiconductors changed the world

This may seem like a dramatic statement- but it’s also one that is very true. Without the semiconductor concept, we would not have the microchip and without microchips, we would not have had the digital revolution. Just try to imagine how different the world would look without the computer you are reading this on and the smartphone that’s in your pocket.

So what is a semiconductor?

Semiconductors can be either a single element [like silicone] or a compound that are conductors. The key property is that they allow conductivity between a traditional conductive substance [metals] and non-conductive materials [like ceramics]. A small impurity added to the semiconductor [this is called doping] makes a huge difference in the conductivity of the material. The use of semiconductors in the microchip is the area in which they are most useful.

Why was this revolutionary?

The advances made in semiconductor technology are what allowed for the miniaturization of electrical components. Remember the old and bulky vintage computers? Those occupied entire rooms yet today you have something with far more powerful that’s sitting in your pocket. Without the semiconductor, this revolution would never have happened, and it’s seen as a pinnacle of technological advancement.

There are a few more eclectic ways this impacts the world then merely then ‘devices got smaller’. The semiconductor has leveled the world by opening the doors to [relatively] cheap production of electronics, making technology available to a vast spectrum of the population who were previously barred for economic reasons.

Linking to the social impact of this revolution, we can now see the homeless carrying phones, allowing them to look for work, connect to the internet, further their education and keep in contact with loved ones. Without the semiconductor technology, this would have never happened, and such technology would have remained for the ultra-rich.

Semiconductors are a vital part of the modern world, and big companies like Intel are heavily involved in research and development into improving these unique and priceless technological components.