barcode in vb.net 2005 Introduction to semiconductors in Software

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362 Introduction to semiconductors
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For a semiconductor material to have the properties needed to work in electronic components, impurities are usually added. The impurities cause the material to conduct currents in certain ways. The addition of an impurity to a semiconductor is called doping. Sometimes the impurity is called a dopant.
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Donor impurities
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When an impurity contains an excess of electrons, the dopant is called a donor impurity. Adding such a substance causes conduction mainly by means of electron flow, as in a metal like copper. The excess electrons are passed from atom to atom when a voltage exists across the material. Elements that serve as donor impurities include antimony, arsenic, bismuth, and phosphorus. A material with a donor impurity is called an N type semiconductor, because electrons have negative charge.
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Acceptor impurities
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If an impurity has a deficiency of electrons, the dopant is called an acceptor impurity. When a substance such as aluminum, boron, gallium, or indium is added to a semiconductor, the material conducts by means of hole flow. A hole is a missing electron; it is described in more detail shortly. A material with an acceptor impurity is called a P-type semiconductor, because holes have positive charge.
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Majority and minority charge carriers
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Charge carriers in semiconductor materials are either electrons, which have a unit negative charge, or holes, having a unit positive charge. In any semiconductor material, some of the current is in the form of electrons passed from atom to atom in a negative-to-positive direction. Some current occurs as holes that move from atom to atom in a positive-to-negative direction. Sometimes electrons dominate the current flow in a semiconductor; this is the case if the material has donor impurities. In substances having acceptor impurities, holes dominate. The dominating charge carriers (either electrons or holes) are the majority carriers. The less abundant ones are the minority carriers. The ratio of majority to minority carriers can vary, depending on the nature of the semiconducting material.
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In an N-type semiconductor, most of the current flows as electrons passed from atom to atom. But some of the current in a P-type material also takes this form. You learned about
Behavior of a P-N junction 363
electron flow all the way back in chapter 1. It would be a good idea to turn back for a moment and review this material, because it will help you understand the concept of hole flow.
Hole flow
In a P-type semiconductor, most of the current flows in a way that some people find peculiar and esoteric. In a literal sense, in virtually all electronic devices, charge transfer is always the result of electron movement, no matter what the medium might be. The exceptions are particle accelerators and cloud chambers apparatus of interest mainly to theoretical physicists. The flow of current in a P-type material is better imagined as a flow of electron absences, not electrons. The behavior of P-type substances can be explained more easily this way. The absences, called holes, move in a direction opposite that of the electrons. Imagine a sold-out baseball stadium. Suppose 19 of every 20 people are randomly issued candles. Imagine it s nighttime, and the field lights are switched off. You stand at the center of the field, just behind second base.The candles are lit, and the people pass them around the stands. Each person having a candle passes it to the person on their right if, but only if, that person has no candle. You see moving dark spots: people without candles. The dark spots move against the candle movement. The physical image you see is produced by candle light, but the motion you notice is that of candles absences. Figure 19-2 illustrates this phenomenon. Small dots represent candles or electrons. Imagine them moving from right to left in the figure as they are passed from person to person or from atom to atom. Circles represent candle absences or holes. They move from left to right, contrary to the flow of the candles or the electrons, because the candles or electrons are being passed among stationary units (people or atoms). This is just the way holes flow in a semiconductor material.
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