It is everywhere

If people are asked: “Do you use any kind of electronic device?” Most people will answer “yes”. Most electronic devices like a refrigerator or your phone contain semiconductors, and they indeed have a wide range of applications. However, due to its widespread use, it has resulted in scarcity. What could semiconductors be if they are present in all of these devices? How did it come to be discovered? Why is it in limited supply? The solutions to these questions are provided below.

First thing first, to understand what a semiconductor is, we should understand what conductors and insulators are. Simply, conductors can allow electricity to pass and insulators can not, and as the name suggests, semiconductors are in between. The conductivity of semiconductors is determined by temperature; the higher the temperature, the better it conducts electricity. Because of this characteristic, and its compactness and efficiency, most electronics use the semiconductor.

If it is so widely used present-day, what was the first semiconductor? It was not compact, contrary to one of its features. ENIAC, the first machine to employ a semiconductor, is recognized as the largest and so-called father of all computers. The discovery of semiconductive properties were made by Thomas Alva Edison himself while he experimented with materials for his great invention: lightbulbs. But the first semiconductor as an electronic part was created by John Ambrose Fleming. It was a vacuum flask with a semiconductor and heat generator in it.

Back to the present-day, why are semiconductors in shortage? This is mainly because of coincidences or bad luck. Factories are unable to meet the public’s needs. There have been several significant launches from major electronics industries. To mention a few, Nvidia’s 3000 graphic card series, Sony’s PlayStation 5, and automobiles from Toyota, Ford, and Volvo. In the case of electronic game-related electronic devices. They were almost instantly sold out, and demand is still high. However, one thing all of these devices have in common is that they all employ low-cost semiconductors. This is one of the reasons behind the increase in demand. To make matters worse, Japanese facilities have caught fire, and Texas factories have been shut down.

All in all, semiconductors are materials that can be both a conductor and an insulator depending on temperature. It was first discovered by Thomas Alva Edison and was put into use by John Fleming. The first machine that used semiconductors was ENIAC, the first computer. Because of unfortunate events and a boom in the demand for low-cost semiconductors, there is a shortage of semiconductors in the present day.

By: Juno Kim