preview

Semiconductors Essay

Powerful Essays
Computer chips have opened the doors for so many technologies to succeed and automated many of the trivial functions of work that once took hundreds of hours to complete The discovery, research and evolution of semiconductors has made this technology possible. Semiconductors are one of the essential building blocks for computer chips and without them modern computing would not be possible. “Simply defined, semiconductors are generally certain elements (such as silicon) and chemical compounds (such as lead sulfide) that allow, but still resist the flow of electricity” [1]. Semiconductor properties allow the conductivity of the said material to be controlled with electrical impulses. In recent decades great strides have been made concerning materials…show more content…
They are mediocre conductors but the important part is that that conductivity can be controlled making them ideal for computer chips and computer systems [4]. Their properties allow for the miniaturization of computer parts, diodes, and transistors. Silicon and germanium are two very popular elements to be used as semiconductors along with various compounds that posses the unique property desired in semiconductors. The properties of semiconductors were first observed by Michael Faraday in 1833 and Karl Braun discovered and documented the first semiconductor diode effect in 1874. As the power of computers and computers chips grew so did the amount of heat produced. Overheating can severely damage the physical properties of the chip and create problems such as melting materials, charred plastics, warped and broken semiconductor dies, and other types of irreversible damage [5]. The physical properties that the competing pieces were made of became a bottleneck for the magnitudes of computing power that could be created. In response to this problem researchers have looked for semiconductor materials that can cope with the intense heat generated better. Solutions vary from altering the structure of the material to using a different metal alloy altogether. Materials that prevent overheating allow the size of computer systems to be…show more content…
Now, scientists must find new compounds for semiconductors or new methods for their construction and the overall structure of the material. Software engineers have made exciting discoveries in the past decade such as chip stacking, devices operating in the tens of nanometers, and transparent materials for touchscreens and interfaces [2]. Despite these great new ideas they have been limited by poor thermal management. The shrinking size and exponentially growing electrical requirements. The power required for high performance computing applications on some modern processor modules can reach 200–250 W or more which means upt 1 kW of heat per hour or 1895.63 degrees celsius [8]. “Hot spots” on devices are often the determining factor when a device is being judged for reliability as theses “hot spots” can be five or even ten times as hot as the device average [2]. Most of often the these high heat loads have been handled by materials that have a high thermal conductivity so as to spread out the heat from “hot spots”. The more area the heat is spread over the better it can be handled by the device. Besides the downsizing of electronic devices which can condense heat spots, the increase in devices interconnect layers, which serve “as as the streets and highways of the integrated circuit (IC),
Get Access