COMPARISON of Silicon and Germanium
Solid state electronics arises from the unique properties of silicon and germanium, each of which has four valenceelectrons and which form crystal lattices in which substituted atoms (dopants) can dramatically change the electricalproperties
n solid state electronics, either pure silicon or germanium may be used as the intrinsicsemiconductorwhich forms the starting point for fabrication. Each has four valence electrons, butgermanium will at a given temperature have more free electrons and a higher conductivity. Siliconis by far the more widely used semiconductor for electronics, partly because it can be used atmuch higher temperatures than germanium.
) is the most common metalloid.
t is a chemical element, which has thesymbol
and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, silicon is less reactive than its chemicalanalog carbon.
t is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but silicon veryrarely occurs as the pure free element in nature. Silicon is more widely distributed in dusts,planetoids and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates.
n Earth's crust,silicon is the second most abundant element after oxygen, making up 25.7% of the crust bymass.
Silicon has many industrial uses.
t is the principal component of most semiconductor devices,most importantly integrated circuits or
. Silicon is widely used in semiconductorsbecause it remains a semiconductor at higher temperatures than thesemiconductorgermanium and because its native oxide is easily grown in a furnace and forms abetter semiconductor/dielectric interface than any other material.
n the form of silica and silicates, silicon forms useful glasses, cements, and ceramics.
t is also aconstituent of silicones, a class-name for various synthetic plastic substances made of silicon,oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, often confused with silicon itself.Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required byanimals.
t is much more important to the metabolism of plants, particularly many grasses,and silicic acid (a type of silica) forms the basis of the striking array of protective shells of themicroscopic diatoms.
Silicon Crystal Structure
after KittelThe above illustration shows the arrangement of the siliconatoms in a unitcell, with the numbers indicating the height of the atom above the base of the cube as a fraction of the cell dimension.Silicon crystallizes in the same pattern as diamond, in a structure which Ashcroft and Mermin call "two interpenetratingface-centered cubic" primitive lattices. The lines between silicon atoms in the lattice illustration indicate nearest-neighbor bonds. The cube side for silicon is 0.543 nm. Germanium has the same diamond structure with a cell dimension of .566nm.