Photonics Dictionary


In the context of materials science and semiconductor physics, doping refers to the intentional introduction of impurities into a semiconductor material in order to alter its electrical properties. The impurities, called dopants, are atoms of different elements than those comprising the semiconductor crystal lattice.

Doping is a crucial technique in semiconductor device fabrication, as it allows engineers to tailor the conductivity and other electrical characteristics of semiconductor materials. There are two primary types of doping:

N-type doping: This involves adding dopants that introduce extra electrons into the semiconductor crystal lattice. Common dopants for creating n-type semiconductor materials include elements like phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. These dopants have more valence electrons than the atoms of the host semiconductor, so they contribute free electrons to the material, increasing its electron conductivity.

P-type doping: In this case, dopants are added to create "holes" in the semiconductor's electron structure. Elements like boron, gallium, and indium are commonly used as dopants for creating p-type semiconductor materials. These dopants have fewer valence electrons than the atoms of the host semiconductor, creating "holes" where electrons can move, effectively increasing hole conductivity.

Doping is a fundamental process in the fabrication of various semiconductor devices, including diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits. By carefully controlling the type and concentration of dopants, engineers can customize the electrical behavior of semiconductor materials to suit specific applications.
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