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Is 'semiconductor' always just another name for 'transition metal'?

  1. Sep 6, 2011 #1
    Or is 'semiconductor' more specific, referring to only some transition metals?

    After looking up the etymology*, I guess that a hypothetical material besides the transition elements which had properties which met the definition of 'semiconductor' would qualify; but that doesn't completely answer my question.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2011 #2


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    Huh?? Where did you get this idea? The two terms are very different. Transition metals are the elements in the middle of the periodic table which have partially-filled f-orbitals. Examples are iron, copper, titanium, etc. I think all of these are metals. 'Semiconductor' refers to substances which have a band gap in their energy band structure, and so have electrical conductivities that are midway between metals and insulators. Elemental semiconductors include silicon and germanium (neither of which are transition metals), but there are compound semiconductors as well, such as gallium arsenide and cadmium sulfide.
  4. Sep 6, 2011 #3
    Is carbon a semiconductor then?
  5. Sep 6, 2011 #4


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    Yes, as diamond, it definitely is. Due to it's wide bandgap diamond may become a useful semiconductor for high power high temperature applications.
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