Various fields of science benefit from thin films and their possible semiconductor applications. Especially in the electronics engineering field, semiconductor thin films have become vital components in product manufacturing. In addition to their semiconductor properties, thin films also have boundless mechanical properties.
In truth, many electronics today would not exist without thin films. In this article, we will address semiconductor thin films and their application in electronics engineering.
Thin Films and Their Electrical Properties
A thin film is a layer of material such as silicon or gallium arsenide between several micrometres thick and one nanometre thick. Thin films are an essential part of electronics manufacturing. Thanks to their semiconductor properties, thin films share traits of both insulators and conductors.
Semiconductors are essential pieces of most electronic devices. As a semiconductor, a thin film regulates the electron mobility in a device to maintain balance when conducting electricity. Semiconductors are not as conductive as conductors but are more conductive than insulators. The semiconductor applications of thin films make them invaluable to electronics engineers.
A thin film deposition system creates thin films through two different processes—chemical deposition or physical deposition. Chemical deposition creates thin films through chemical reactions, whereas physical deposition physically moves material to a substrate to create a thin layer.
In newer thin film technologies, engineers use chemical vapour deposition and physical vapour deposition. These two subgroups are ideal due to their easily adjustable reaction parameters. This adjustability helps to make the process significantly faster.
How Are Thin Films Applied in Electronics?
A wide array of electronic and semiconductor devices utilise thin films on parts of their components. Material scientists and engineers have been using thin films for over half a century. Most commonly, engineers use thin films in transistors, sensors, diodes, and microprocessors.
Below are a few examples of thin film applications in everyday life.
Thin films applications
In terms of their semiconductor applications, researchers are using thin film technology for photovoltaic cells. Semiconductor thin films are essential to the production of cells that absorb sunlight and convert solar energy into electricity. Semiconductor thin films have become popular as society continues to look towards renewable energy options.
Engineers use thin film for many of the lighting systems we use today. LED and OLED displays on screens and CMOS sensors in cameras all require thin film technology. In addition, CDs and DVDs both require thin films.
Thanks to their usage in microprocessors and diodes, thin films allow for the creation of the modern computer. Thin films are responsible for the solid-state drive on a computer, which houses much of the device’s storage. As advancements in thin film technology continue, hard drives may become smaller, improving their capabilities.
As researchers continue to study their application, they continue to discover new uses for thin films. For students, researchers, and engineers alike, the advancements and applications of semiconductor thin films are exciting, from improved solar technology to random access memory devices. Read more blog posts to learn more about semiconductor thin films and Korvus Technology’s HEX series.