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Physics of Transistors

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Recently in AP Chemistry, we talked about modern materials, like transistors, and how exactly they work. Transistors are a type of semiconductor. Semiconductors correspond with the metalloids on the periodic table. In Physics C, we typically refer to objects as either conducting or non-conducting, and have learned how to deal with electric fields, electric potential, electric potential energy, and capacitance for either of the two objects. The physics becomes more involved when considering semiconductors. Semiconductors have conductivities that are intermediate between conductors and insulators. The conductivity of a nonconductor can be increased by increasing its temperature because increasing the temperature increases the average kinetic energy of the nonconductor's electrons, making them able to be freed and flow to produce electrical current. One can also increase the conductivity of a semiconductor by chemical doping, which involves the presence of small amounts of other atoms. The following video explains how transistors work, and refers to n-type and p-type doping. 


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