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semiconductor

[sem-ee-kuh n-duhk-ter, sem-ahy-] /ˌsɛm i kənˈdʌk tər, ˌsɛm aɪ-/
noun
1.
a substance, as silicon or germanium, with electrical conductivity intermediate between that of an insulator and a conductor: a basic component of various kinds of electronic circuit element (semiconductor device) used in communications, control, and detection technology and in computers.
2.
a semiconductor device.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; semi- + conductor
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for semiconductor device

semiconductor

/ˌsɛmɪkənˈdʌktə/
noun
1.
a substance, such as germanium or silicon, that has an electrical conductivity that increases with temperature and is intermediate between that of a metal and an insulator The behaviour may be exhibited by the pure substance (intrinsic semiconductor) or as a result of impurities (extrinsic semiconductor)
2.
  1. a device, such as a transistor or integrated circuit, that depends on the properties of such a substance
  2. (as modifier): a semiconductor diode
Derived Forms
semiconduction, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for semiconductor device

semiconductor

n.

1838, "material whose electrical conductivity is between that of a conductor and that of an insulator," from semi- + conductor. Modern very specific sense is recorded from 1931.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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semiconductor device in Science
semiconductor
  (sěm'ē-kən-dŭk'tər)   
Any of various solid substances, such as silicon or germanium, that conduct electricity more easily than insulators but less easily than conductors. In semiconductors, thermal energy is enough to cause a small number of electrons to escape from the valence bonds between the atoms (the valence band); they orbit instead in the higher-energy conduction band, in which they are relatively free. The resulting gaps in the valence band are called holes. Semiconductors are vital to the design of electronic components and circuitry, including transistors, laser diodes, and memory and computer processing circuits.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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semiconductor device in Culture

semiconductor definition


A material that conducts (see conduction) electricity, but very poorly. Silicon is the most common and familiar semiconductor. Devices made from semiconductors, such as the transistor, are the basis of the modern microelectric industry.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for semiconductor device

electronic circuit component made from a material that is neither a good conductor nor a good insulator (hence semiconductor). Such devices have found wide applications because of their compactness, reliability, and low cost. As discrete components, they have found use in power devices, optical sensors, and light emitters, including solid-state lasers. They have a wide range of current- and voltage-handling capabilities, with current ratings from a few nanoamperes (109 ampere) to more than 5,000 amperes and voltage ratings extending above 100,000 volts. More importantly, semiconductor devices lend themselves to integration into complex but readily manufacturable microelectronic circuits. They are, and will be in the foreseeable future, the key elements for the majority of electronic systems, including communications, consumer, data-processing, and industrial-control equipment.

Learn more about semiconductor device with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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