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Sunday, April 2, 2017

#367 Crystal structure

As alluded to in the last two blogs, crystal structure of semiconductors plays an important role in defining their key physical characteristics, charge transport characteristics in particular.  Discussion of the crystal structure of solids is concerned with the way atoms comprising a solid are spatially distributed and bonded. An underlying consideration in this regard is the extent to which this distribution is ordered and the geometrical nature of the ensuing crystalline order. 


In terms of crystallographic order, two distinct classes of solids are represented by (i) crystals featuring periodic long-range order and (ii) non-crystalline materials, commonly referred to as amorphous materials in which, in contrast to crystals, atomic arrangement exhibits no periodicity or long-range order.  Among crystals, single-crystal and poly-crystalline/multicrystalline materials are distinguished.  In the former case, periodic long-range order is maintained throughout the entire piece of material while in the latter case such order is maintained only within the limited in volume grains which are randomly connected to form a solid.  As mentioned earlier, amorphous, non-crystalline materials do not feature a long-range order at all.


As it can be expected, amorphous semiconductors feature inferior charge transport characteristics as compare to their crystalline counterparts, single-crystal in particular.  On the other hand, being uniquely compatible with thin-film device technology amorphous semiconductors play key role in several important applications.  


Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 04:11 PM | Semiconductors | Link is the personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. With over 35 years of experience in academic research and teaching in the area of semiconductor engineering (currently holding position of a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University), he has a unique perspective on the developments in this progress driving technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.

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