On the basis of conductivity and other qualities, conductors and semiconductors can be separated from one another. Metals such as copper and aluminium, for example, are conductors at room temperature. However, as the temperature rises, they lose their ability to conduct heat. Semiconductors, on the other hand, tend to act as insulators at low temperatures and as conductors at high temperatures.
Conductor Vs. Semiconductor
The distinction between a conductor and a semiconductor is that the conductivity capability of each differs. Both conductors and semiconductors have a wide range of applications that people use on a daily basis. They are highly different from one another, despite the fact that they have a few commonalities.
Conductors make it easy for electricity to flow through them. It could be in the form of heat, electricity, or sound. Conductors are objects or types of materials in physics that allow energy to flow in one or more specific directions. Metals are generally excellent conductors, with the exception of gold, mercury, and other rare metals.
A semiconductor is a substance with a conductivity level that is halfway between that of conductors like aluminium and copper and insulators like rubber and glass. The higher the temperature, the lower the resistivity of semiconductors, which is the polar opposite of conductors. Silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium are just a few examples of semiconductors.
What exactly is a Conductor?
Materials that have the ability to convey energy in the form of heat, electricity, or sound are known as conductors. The process occurs when conductors move electrons from one atom to another as a result of the introduction of voltage.
The conductivity of conductors is great, while the resistance is low. Metal-based materials are the most efficient conductors. Non-metals such as conductive polymer and graphite, on the other hand, can act as conductors. The conductors have a large number of electrons for transmission and there is no forbidden gap.
The conductor’s power value is extremely high, at 10-7mho/m. When a conductor has a 0-kelvin behavior, it behaves like a superconductor.
The vast majority of the conductors are solid. However, there exist liquid metals that, like metals, are good conductors. Gases, on the other hand, are poor conductors until they are ionized, at which point they become good conductors. Earth, animals, the human body, and metals are examples of natural conductors.
Conductors have a variety of applications that we utilise on a daily basis. Iron, for example, is utilized to transfer heat in the fabrication and production of automobile engines. Aluminium, on the other hand, is mostly utilized in kitchenware because metal absorbs and stores heat, as well as in food wrapping. Mercury is utilized in thermometers and is used to measure body temperature.
What exactly is a Semiconductor?
Semiconductors are materials with a conduction capability that falls between conductors and insulators. They have a moderate conduction capacity that varies depending on the temperature. When the temperature rises, the conductivity rises with it, and when the temperature drops, the same materials can be used as insulators. In their normal form, however, they are poor conductors.
The properties of a semiconductor can be changed by introducing impurities into the conductors. The semiconductors’ power values range from 10-13mho/m to 10-7mho/m.
Semiconductors have a variety of beneficial properties. The semiconductors’ 0-kelvin behavior will turn them into insulators.
For example, it could pass current in a single direction, have variable resistance, and be sensitive to light or heat. When compared to conductors, semiconductors need less electrons for conduction. Because of the presence of unbound electrons and holes, current flows in only one direction.
Semiconductors are used to make a variety of electronic devices, including transistors, integrated circuits, and diodes. With the help of p-type and n-type semiconductors, they are employed in power devices, optical sensors, light emitters, and solar cell manufacture. They are capable of tolerating high voltages and electric currents.
These devices are cost-effective and pocket-friendly, as well as dependable, simple to use, and energy-efficient. Silicon, tin, tellurium, germanium, and other metal oxides are examples of semiconductor materials.
Difference between Conductor and Semiconductor
- Conductivity in conductors is high, but conductivity in semiconductors is intermediate, that is, it is neither too high nor too low.
- Conductors have very low resistivity, whereas semiconductors have a moderate level of resistance.
- The free flow of electrons causes current to flow in conductors, whereas the existence of free electrons and holes causes current to flow in semiconductors.
- Metallic bonding is used to make conductors, while covalent bonding is used to make semiconductors.
- Conductors have only one valence electron in the outermost shell, whereas semiconductors have four.
- Gold, silver, aluminium, and copper are examples of conductors, whereas silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium are examples of semiconductors.
In our daily lives, we need both conductors and semiconductors.
Conductors, which can be found in everyday scenarios, are similar to a mercury-based thermometer that measures the body’s temperature. The heat is then transferred from the flame to the food using the conductivity properties of an iron cooking pan.
Semiconductors, on the other hand, are used in a less visible way than conductors. They are employed as transistors in everything from Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) technology to the tiniest of wireless devices. Solar cells consisting of p-type and n-type semiconductors are also made with semiconductors.