The Different Types of Semiconductor Devices and What They Do

The Different Types of Semiconductor Devices and What They Do

Semiconductor devices are made of materials that don’t insulate or conduct, and they have been used in many applications due to their combined compactness, dependability, and low overall cost. Semiconductor product development has been used to create a wide variety of products used in power devices, light emitters, and compactness optical sensors.

Here we’ll provide a brief review of the different kinds of semiconductor devices and what they do.

What Exactly Are Semiconductor Devices?

These devices are merely electronic components that manipulate the electronic properties of a variety of materials such as germanium, silicon, and organic semiconductor materials. They’ve served as a replacement for vacuum tubes in a wide range of applications. There are several types of semiconductor devices that contribute to complete systems.


Semiconductor diodes are devices composed of one p-n junction. The absence of mobile charge carriers reserves conduction through the use of a depletion region, which the n-type and p-type semiconductor junction forms. When the semiconductor is exposed to light, electron hole pairs are produced, subsequently increasing the number of empty carriers and thus increasing conductivity.


Two p-n junctions form a bipolar junction transistor, which comes in either n-p-n or p-n-p configurations. The center or base between the junctions is often narrow. The other two regions are called the collector and emitter. A small current travels through the junction between the emitter and base, which alters the base collector junction’s properties to allow for the conduction of a current despite its reverse biased nature.

Other Types of Semiconductor Devices

There are many different kinds of additional two-, three-, and four-terminal semiconductor devices used for many different applications, including:

  • Gunn diodes
  • Laser diodes
  • PIN diodes
  • Tunnel diodes
  • Photocells
  • Solar cells
  • Bipolar transistors
  • Darlington transistors
  • Silicon-controlled rectifiers
  • Thyristors
  • Photo couplers
  • Hall effect sensors

Applications for Semiconductor Devices

Semiconductor applications can include the use of transistors as logic gate building blocks in the design of certain digital circuits such as microprocessors. Transistors can also be used in the design of analog circuits but will respond with a continuous output range to a continuous input range. Some of these analog circuits include amplifiers and oscillators. They may also be used in mixed-signal circuits that either translate or interface between digital and analog circuits.

Through the use of two-, three-, or four-terminal semiconductor devices, many types of circuits can benefit from efficiency of design, making these devices a crucial element in the development of many types of electronic systems.