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Semiconductor image

Equipment provided in session

Semiconductor image

Beaker to be filled with various substances of different temperatures. A semiconductor is submerged and its response to temperature noted.

Semiconductor image

How the wires are put into the circuit box

Semiconductor image

Different semiconductors


Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity which lies between conductors (generally metals) and insulators (such as most ceramics). Semiconductors can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds based on gallium or cadmium.    

The continuing development of computing and the miniaturisation of devices are all based on the production of high purity silicon. Silicon based materials dominate the semiconductor industry and are present in almost all the electronic devices around us. However, germanium and a number of other semiconductor compounds are also used extensively. These include gallium arsenide (GaAs) as lasers in CD players and gallium nitride (GaN) which is used to produce blue light emitting diodes.  

In this experiment, you will investigate the properties of a simple semiconductor device, a silicon diode. Your objective is to determine (approximately) the energy gap of silicon.  

Current students can find more information [on Learn Ultra]. 

In this session you will have

  • Learnt about semiconductors
  • Investigated the current-voltage characteristics of diodes
  • Experimentally determined the energy gap of silicon
  • Developed further Excel skills
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