What is Silicon: Definition and 198 Discussions

Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard, brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre, and is a tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member of group 14 in the periodic table: carbon is above it; and germanium, tin, lead and flerovium,are below it. It is relatively unreactive. Because of its high chemical affinity for oxygen, it was not until 1823 that Jöns Jakob Berzelius was first able to prepare it and characterize it in pure form. Its oxides form a family of anions known as silicates. Its melting and boiling points of 1414 °C and 3265 °C respectively are the second highest among all the metalloids and nonmetals, being only surpassed by boron. Silicon is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but very rarely occurs as the pure element in the Earth's crust. It is most widely distributed in space in cosmic dusts, planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. More than 90% of the Earth's crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust (about 28% by mass), after oxygen. Silicon is a natural element, and when not previously present has a residence time of about 400 years in the world's oceans.Most silicon is used commercially without being separated, and often with very little processing of the natural minerals. Such use includes industrial construction with clays, silica sand, and stone. Silicates are used in Portland cement for mortar and stucco, and mixed with silica sand and gravel to make concrete for walkways, foundations, and roads. They are also used in whiteware ceramics such as porcelain, and in traditional silicate-based soda-lime glass and many other specialty glasses. Silicon compounds such as silicon carbide are used as abrasives and components of high-strength ceramics. Silicon is the basis of the widely used synthetic polymers called silicones.
The late 20th century to early 21st century has been described as the Silicon Age (also known as the Digital Age or Information Age) due to elemental silicon having a large impact on the modern world economy. The relatively small portion of very highly purified elemental silicon used in semiconductor electronics (< 10%) is essential to the metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) transistors and integrated circuit chips used in most modern technology (such as computers and cell phones, for example). The most widely used silicon device is the MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor), which has been manufactured in larger numbers than any other device in history. Free silicon is also used in the steel refining, aluminium-casting, and fine chemical industries (often to make fumed silica).
Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only traces are required by animals. However, various sea sponges and microorganisms, such as diatoms and radiolaria, secrete skeletal structures made of silica. Silica is deposited in many plant tissues.

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  1. S

    A Momentum density of silicon valence band using bandstructure

    I have included the resulting histogram that emerges when I do this procedure and it does not look as expected. I am using CASTEP and have read the .bands file as a txt file into python where i have extracted the relevant data.
  2. LUFER

    A How does the dry process work using porous silicon?

    I'm having trouble finding in the literature specifically about the porous silicon process using the dry method instead of the more common wet method that is used. wet process Using porous silicon to promote wet thermal oxidation uses the process electrochemically will allow water molecules to...
  3. Astronuc

    B Sun contains more oxygen, silicon and neon than previously thought

    Ekaterina Magg, Maria Bergemann and colleagues have published results of new calculations concerning the composition of the sun. https://phys.org/news/2022-05-solar-spectrum-decade-long-controversy-sun.html As part of the work on her Ph.D. in that group, Ekaterina Magg set out to calculate in...
  4. A

    Silicon and Germanium semiconductor mixtures used in component manufacturing?

    Can Silicon and Germanium semiconductors mixture (chemical reaction) with some other chemical elements (if required) assist in creating new and existing robust electronic components? Si + Ge + ? + ? = Can this assist in quantum computing?
  5. P

    Anisotropic Etching in Semiconductor Fabrication

    I am learning about designing semiconductors but I had some issues understanding some things about the structure of Si. About lattice structure: 1) Why does an FCC has 8 atoms per cell? Doesnt has 14? About wafers 1) I know you can have wafers along different surfaces. What information can I...
  6. P

    Silicon FCC -- Why are so many atoms shown in the lattice?

    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/1-Silicon-crystallographic-structure-It-has-the-diamond-structure-which-is-two-fcc_fig4_34172659 the fcc silicon lattice is shown. My question is: Since the silicon atom has 4 valence electrons and requires 4 more to be completed, why are so many atoms shown...
  7. Steve Rogers

    B Are silicon iron sheets really necessary for a commercial transformer?

    Hi, everyone. I just finished studying the principle on which a transformer works. It relies on Faraday's law of induction. And my high school physics book uses the following picture for illustration: Roughly speaking, the...
  8. A

    Why does the top surface of a Silicon Die measure close to 0 ohms?

    I have gotten access to a large bare silicon die (almost 1" across, 14nm process) that my company gets from a fab. I've been monkeying around with an ohmmeter placed at the top of the die, with the test leads placed at various points around the die, and I almost always measure the same value...
  9. M

    Engineering How Does Electron Mobility Relate to Conductivity in N-Type Silicon?

    I still not understand about this, i found so many formulas but I don't know which one i should use for this question
  10. S

    A Does the Silicon Nitride Waveguide Have a Cladding?

    Does the Silicon Nitride Waveguide (Si3N4) has a cladding ?! I read an article that they use the evanescent field of silicon-nitride waveguide.. If the answer yes it doesn't has a cladding then can I say that the evanescent field length in the surrounding medium is the mode field portion in that...
  11. G

    Synthesizing Li7Si12: Orthorhombic Silicon Allotrope

    Dear All! I want to synthesize silicon allotrope. Not just cubic silicon, but orthorhombic. But in the first step, I need to synthesize Li7Si12. Is it possible or not? Any ideas about how to do it? The main idea can be found at this...
  12. K

    Deep Learning, learning completion, silicon chip implementation

    After lengthy process of "deep learning" and back propagation of information; would we get static coefficients for the thousand of nodes; for example for playing game of chess, would that state be good to hard-wire on the silicon cheep and this way we would have perfect chess player? Or the...
  13. E

    Will Graphene Be the Next Breakthrough Material for High Speed Microprocessors?

    Will silicon be replaced by a new material in order to open up new possibilities in the world of microprocessors? I believe I read that a graphene processor will allow processors to run at speeds of hundreds of GHz.
  14. P

    A Acceptable Atmosphere for CZ/Float-zone Refining

    Both the cz (Czochralski Process), and Float-zone refining of silicon require an inert atmosphere, usually argon. How pure does the argon atmosphere have to be? How high of a vacuum has to be pulled before releasing argon into the tank?
  15. P

    Silicon not heating with induction heater?

    I’m using an inductive heater to try to melt some 99.85% polycrystalline silicon, as would occur in the Czochralski process, but the silicon workpiece is not melting let alone even getting hot. The silicon workpiece is about the size of a playing dice. It becomes conductive at 200 F and becomes...
  16. G

    How to Thin Si02 for Automotive Repair

    Hi folks is there anyone who could help me with si02 please
  17. José Ricardo

    Other hypothetical types of life

    is there any sci-fi that would rerate a life based on ammonia or silicon or any other type of life?
  18. F

    A Silicon band structure for both ibrav 0 and ibrav 2

    Silicon Band Structure for both ibrav 0 and ibrav 2 I did scf and bands for silicon using both ibrav=0 and ibrav 2 After running the two bands separately I noticed that the band structures for the two (ibrav 0 and ibrav 2) were totally difference but in literature i read that the two (both ibrav...
  19. P

    Why won't my silicon melt with a zvs inductive heater?

    I’m using a zvs inductive heater to try to melt some 99.85% polycrystalline silicon, as would occur in the Czochralski process, but the silicon workpiece is not melting let alone even getting hot. The silicon workpiece is about the size of a playing dice, and becomes fully conductive after...
  20. Mayan Fung

    Degradation of crystalline silicon solar cells

    Hi there, it is commonly accepted that the lifespan of crystalline silicon solar cells is about 20-30years. And they define the lifespan as when the solar cells efficiency drop to about lower than 10%. However, what are the possible reasons for the degradation? I can only find research papers...
  21. V

    Diamond/Silicon's band structure

    Homework Statement I am asked to discuss the band structure of diamond. I saw the band structure of diamond has 4 filled valence bands and then 4 conduction bands. Silicon, the same. Homework Equations --- The Attempt at a Solution I'm feeling really silly because I don't understand why it is...
  22. M

    I Where Can I Find Data on the IR Transmission of Silicon and Germanium?

    I'm looking for a table of data in electronic format, for optical transmission of Si in the mid infrared at say a wavelength range of 1-15um. Something like a text file or CSV file from a public source? Also looking for Germanium - the same spectrum. Any suggestions where I could get this?
  23. A

    Is it generally safe for kids to handle silicon wafers?

    I volunteer in an 8th grade classroom and I wanted to bring in some silicon wafers for the students to examine for a "show and tell" session, in order to get them interested in technology. Are there any dangers to the students if they are allowed to handle a wafer? I don't really care if the...
  24. N

    Transistors: Tiny Silicon Crystals, Memory Cells, & Shrinking Bits

    Transistors are tiny crystal of silicon. Transistor switch and it's support component are memory cell. A single memory chip can hold up to 4 transistor ? What is the shrinking bit ? Can you please explain?
  25. C

    What absorbs impact better, hard plastic or silicon?

    Hello, Not sure really where to ask this but I couldn't find a good answer so why not a physics forum, because well this involves physics. I just got a gopro for my fpv drone and I am wondering what type of case to get for it, either a plastic or silicone one. If I am going 30+ mph and smack...
  26. S

    Wired article: Physicists will soon rule Silicon Valley

    Hi everyone. I came across the following article on Wired about physicists (or I should say, physics graduates) playing an increasingly prominent role in Silicon Valley, specifically in the field of machine learning/data science...
  27. LordChallen

    What is the energy cost of making silicon?

    I'm trying to determine how much energy it takes to melt down sand into silicon, and convert it to solar panels. any info would be great. Thanks.
  28. J

    Uses of a silicon semiconductor at high temperatures

    We conducted an experiment in which we found the variation in the resistance of a fairly pure silicon sample between temperatures of about 400K to 600K, and we found a value for the energy gap of silicon of our sample. We were comparing the resistance variation with the model...
  29. C_Pu

    I How Do Silicon Radiation Detectors Work in Detecting Beta and Gamma Radiations?

    So we are doing Radioactivity lab at second year undergraduate. I am confused about the workings of the silicon radiation detects we are using even though the demonstrators tried to explain. We are detecting beta and gamma radiations by placing sources above a silicon detector that have a small...
  30. C

    I Location of donor atom electrons in N-type Silicon

    I'm taking a module in solid state electronics and I'm a bit confused with the energy band diagrams. I was told that the region between the top of VB and and the bottom of the CB is the "forbidden gap". However after learning about N-type semiconductors(silicon), I see that the extra electron...
  31. adamaero

    Bohr Model applied to Excitons

    An exciton is a bound electron-hole pair (in a semiconductor). For this problem, think of an exciton as a hydrogen-like atom, with a negatively charged electron and positively charged hole orbiting each other. The permittivity of free space (ε0) is replaced with permittivity of the...
  32. Recycler

    Chemical treatment of silicon carbide

    I modified an employer's patented device,in order to treat bulk silicon carbide grit.It became crystal clear resembling clear silica grainsThe resultant was not analyzed.This was a low-temperature process.Is there any potential application for this type of process?
  33. falcon555

    Silicon resistance change with temperature

    Good day everyone I'm doing a homework and stuck on the parts ii, iv and v. In fact I don't know the formula to calculate them Could someone help me to solve them, please
  34. L

    Stress on silicon carbide depositions

    I read on a table by Dr Lynn Fuller on sputtering various materials and there was a table relating RF sputtering power to stress, with a sweet spot at around 300 watts per square inch or roughly 500 milliwatts per square millimeter on the target. The material in question is Silicon Carbide...
  35. U

    What is the (n,k) value of hydrogenated amorphous silicon carbide?

    Hello, I'm working on simulation of hydrogenated amorphous and microcristalline silicon solar cells. The software I use is AMPS 1D So, I need (n,k) of hydrogenated amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC:H) Thank you
  36. campeola46

    Finding n and p of semiconductor given temp, NA, ND, and Ni

    I'm doing independent study on semiconductors to prepare for a future class and I'm having problems with some problems that concern finding the n and p of doped Silicon given only a temperature, NA, ND, and Ni. I understand that n*p=Ni^2, but, given that this means that n does not equal ND (and...
  37. S

    How can I plate Cu at very low currents

    Hello, I have a silicon wafer with a 50nm layer of copper sputtered on it. I coated it with a 1µm of positive photo resist and patterned it with a UV laser stepper. Then I developed it and washed it thoroughly. The pattern has a surface area which measures appx 1300µm x 8µm. What I want to do...
  38. Q

    A STM images of graphene, graphite and Silicon carbide

    most STM images of graphite have been acquired using a bias voltage of ? Or in the range ? Same thing for graphene and Silicon carbide
  39. G

    A Reason for change in deformation if we switch from n to p

    In the research paper, a piezoresistive pressure sensor is designed. My question is if we look at table 1 in column 1 the values of deformation of diaphragm for single crystal silicon n type is used If we interchange n type and p type the values for 1000,2000 Kpa are same and then the values...
  40. Theoden

    What should I do with silicon?

    Let's say I have an amount of freshly-isolated silicon in the bottom of a jar of water. I have heard it is usable for water filtration; but how else could I use this element, and with it could I make silicone? I have searched google on making silicone, but all I have found are subjects about...
  41. memoryerasure1

    B In glass, the elements that make it up, like silicon, and so

    In glass, the elements that make it up, like silicon, and sodium. Does the electron eV levels change as these elements become molecules [PLAIN]http://www.chemicalforums.com/Smileys/classic/grin.gif, and become solid glass. To put it another way, if silicon, sodium, and calcium atoms which have...
  42. 3DTOPO

    Conductive Silicon Carbide [Carborundum]

    I am trying to create a conductive Silicon Carbide (SiC) heating element. The US patent 650234 "Process of making carborundum articles", filed in 1899 states essentially that crushed SiC crystals can be be glued together (using diluted glue) then sintered. It states that the addition of 15-20%...
  43. A

    Band structure silicon nanoribbons

    Hi I have been drawing pi bands, silicon nanoribbons. But I can't draw sigma bands. Can help me for plotting sigma bands, silicon nanoribbons in Matlab.
  44. W

    Instrumental Analysis of Silicon Heterojunctions

    Homework Statement Describe the process of creating a bulk heterojunction and an ordered heterojunction Homework Equations n/a The Attempt at a Solution I understand that each heterojunction has a cathode, anode, acceptor, and donor along with a indium tin oxide coating but I am unsure...
  45. L

    Etching of silicon wafer

    Regarding the anisotropic etching of the (110) silicon wafer, why will the (110) oriented wafers form perpendicular trenches with the (111)?
  46. F

    Silicon Wafers & ICs: Exploring the Connection

    Hello Forum, I would like to understand why silicon, specifically, is used to make wafers (substrates) to make integrated circuits. ICs are small and dense electric circuits. Are the various gates, resistors, capacitors, transistors and other components made by doping different regions of the...
  47. C

    Etching TiO2 on Silicon Substrates: Suggestions Needed

    Hi guys, Please give me some suggestions about etching TiO2 TiO2, MgF2, and Cr2O3 are sputtered on silicon substrate. The top pattern is TiO2 with the linewidth of 346nm. I would use E-beam to transfer pattern. The photoresist is PMMA. The possible etchant I have searched for is hydrogen...
  48. A

    Hydrogen and phosphorus distribution in silicon oxide

    I want to know spatial distribution (concentration) of hydrogen and phosphorus in silicon oxide film with thickness of 1 micrometer. What is the simplest possible way to obtain such distributions with adequate resolution (~50 nm)?
  49. R

    Silicon wafer as substrate in Zinc oxide thin films

    Good day, many articles used sillicon wafer as substrate over others (like:platinum, glass, sapphire and etc) to grow Zinc oxide thin films, but I'm don't know the real reason they choose silicon wafer as substrate compare to others. so I'm asking what are the advantages of using Silicon wafers...
  50. amrmohammed

    How fillers are added to silicon fluids?

    Some silicon products (like silicon greases) have different types of fillers added to it (like silica and carbon black) to give it certain properties. How these fillers are added/combined/"dissolved" to the silicon fluid?