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The Story of Semiconductors$
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John W. Orton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559107.001.0001

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The compound challenge

The compound challenge

(p.149) Chapter 5 The compound challenge
The Story of Semiconductors

John Orton

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the advent of compound semiconductors. III-V materials such as GaAs and InP found applications in semiconductor electronics during the 1960s, where silicon's electronic properties were unsuitable. For example, their electron mobilities were far greater than that of silicon, thus enabling them to compete in the field of microwave transistors. The direct band gap of GaAs made it suitable for LEDs and in 1962 the first semiconductor lasers were reported, leading to the first commercial application in 1978 in the CD player. The GaAs Gunn diode was invented in 1963 and both GaAs and InP devices developed into highly practical microwave sources during the 1970s. Once again, the importance of high quality single crystal growth is emphasised and the development of several epitaxial growth methods (LPE, VPE, MOVPE and MBE) led to the introduction of heterostructures. An important section covers the range of characterisation methods specially developed for the III-V materials.

Keywords:   III-V compound, GaAs, InP, semiconductor laser, Gunn diode, microwave transistor, characterisation methods

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