Semiconductors: How They Changed the World
Semiconductors have been around for a long time, but it was only in the early 20th century when they started being mass-produced. But the true “sapphire chip” moment was in the 1970s when the first silicon-based integrated circuits were developed.
Semiconductors are electronic devices that use the flow of electrons through a controlled stream of small, usually metallic, particles known as charge carriers. The vast majority of semiconductors are crystalline materials of pure silicon, germanium, and some other elements. These three elements form the key building blocks of today’s electronic devices and form the semiconductor industry’s foundation.
As the sole power behind all computing devices, the semiconductor industry has had a tremendous impact on society, and today the industry employs more than 900,000 people worldwide. In the United States alone, semiconductors generate more than $300 billion a year in revenue and employ more than half a million people in the semiconductor industry.
The science of electronics is fascinating, and the use of semiconductors makes modern life possible. In the late 19th century, scientists discovered that the same elements are used in the production of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which allows light bulbs to be so much smaller than incandescent bulbs. This discovery sparked a revolution in lighting technology and, eventually, everything from televisions to computers to modern electronics.
The first semiconductor devices were used to at objects in the world, like a ruler, calculator, or watch. Other devices have been used to measure things in the world, like temperature, light, and sound. Today, we use semiconductors all around us. The tiny tubes and discs inside your computer are made of silicon. Your TV, phone, and radio are also semiconductor devices. We use them to make millions of tiny computers, called microchips. Semiconductors are what make modern life possible.
Today’s semiconductors are found in our TVs, cell phones, computers, and cars. The computer chip responsible for this technological revolution is the integrated circuit, an electronic component that is a combination of transistors, resistors, and other components, all packed into a single unit. The integrated circuit has allowed us to do many amazing things, like the transistor radio you used in the 1960s and the transistor computer that is still in use today.
Semiconductors have been around for over a century since the end of the 19th century, and they have changed the world. Fundamentally, semiconductors are the building blocks of modern electronics, which means they have a huge impact on our daily lives.
The semiconductor revolution of the last half-century has given the human race the ability to do things previously thought to be impossible. It has enabled computers to perform over a billion operations a second and has allowed us to make the Internet work reliably. It has allowed us to communicate from the other side of the world in a few seconds and to download a billion songs in less than a minute. And it has enabled us to carry around everyday objects that are smaller, lighter, and more powerful than any technology that came before it.
The first semiconductors were invented in the 1880s, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that they were first put to use in electronics. These early semiconductors were part of the Bell Telephone System. When they were energized, they unintentionally had the effect of sending nearby telephone wires tingling like the strings on a guitar. Since then, semiconductors have gone on to be in just about every aspect of our modern lives, from computers and cell phones to televisions and other electronic gadgets.
Semiconductors, with diodes included, are one of the most important inventions in the world. They are the basis for everything we use today, from computers to phones to TVs to even the light we see from the sun. Without the marvellous discovery of semiconductors, it would be impossible to harness all the energy from the sun to make electricity or to create light bulbs. These little devices have also been the basis of many inventions, from telephones to computers to thermostats. Their ability to be so small yet powerful has led to the creation of many electronic devices, from space-age calculators to the modern-day airplane.