Conductors and Semiconductors can be distinguished depending on the ground of conductivity and other properties. Conductors like metals, e.g., copper and aluminium, show conductivity at average room temperature.
- Conductors allow an electric current to flow easily, while semiconductors are materials that can conduct electricity under certain conditions but not others.
- Conductors have a high electrical conductivity, while semiconductors have a moderate conductivity.
- Semiconductors are widely used in electronic devices such as transistors, diodes, and integrated circuits, while conductors are mainly used for power transmission and other electrical applications.
Conductor vs Semiconductor
A conductor allows electricity to flow freely through it. A semiconductor has an electrical conductivity that falls between conductors like aluminium and copper and insulators like rubber and glass. Semiconductors are useful in electronic devices such as transistors, diodes, and integrated circuits. Conductors are used in electrical wiring to transmit electricity from one point to another.
|Parameters of Comparison
|Very High or High
|Uses many electrons for conduction.
|It uses fewer electrons for conduction
|Flow of current
|The flow of free electrons causes it.
|It is caused because of the presence of free electrons and holes.
|Gold, silver, aluminium, copper, etc.
|Silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium.
What is Conductor?
Conductors are materials that have the potential to transmit energy in the form of heat, electricity, or sound.
In conductors, conductivity is high, and resistivity is low. Materials that are made up of metals are the best conductor.
The power value of the conductor is very high, 10-7mho/m. A conductor behaves like a superconductor when it has a 0-kelvin temperature.
Most of the conductors are solid. But there are also liquid metals, which serve as excellent conductors like metals.
There are practical applications of conductors, which we use daily. For example, Iron is used to manufacture and produce vehicles’ engines to conduct heat.
What is Semiconductor?
Semiconductors are materials whose conduction capacity lies in between that conductors and insulators. They have a moderate level of conduction capacity which can change based on the temperature.
A semiconductor’s properties can be altered by introducing impurities in the conductors. The power value of the semiconductors can be between 10-13mho/m to 10-7mho/m.
Semiconductors have a wide range of valuable characteristics. The 0-kelvin behaviour of the semiconductors will convert them into insulators.
For instance, they pass current in a single direction, show changeable resistance, and are light or heat sensitive. Semiconductors use a lesser number of electrons for conduction as compared to conductors.
Semiconductors are used to manufacture and produce several electronic devices like transistors, integrated circuits, and diodes. They are used in power devices, optical sensors, light emitters, and producing solar cells with the help of p-type and n-type semiconductors.
These devices are cost-effective and pocket-friendly, reliable, easy to use, and power efficient. Examples of Semiconductor materials are Silicon, Tin, Tellurium, Germanium, and other metal oxides.
Main Differences Between Conductor and Semiconductor
- The level of conductivity in conductors is high, whereas, in the case of semiconductors, it is moderate, i.e., neither too high nor too low.
- The resistivity level in conductors is low, but semiconductors have moderate resistivity.
- The current flow in conductors happens because of the free flow of electrons, whereas in semiconductors, the latter happens because of free electrons and holes.
- The conductors are formed by metallic bonding, whereas semiconductors are formed by covalent bonding.
- In the outermost shell, the valence electron for conductors is just one, whereas, for semiconductors, it is four.
- Examples of conductors are Gold, Silver, Aluminium, and Copper, whereas semiconductors are silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.