A semiconductor is a substance, usually a solid chemical element or compound, that can conduct electricity under some conditions but not others, making it a good medium for the control of electrical current.
Semiconductors are at the heart of the electronics industry and anything that is computerised or uses radiowaves depends on them as well as other devices such as solar cells.
Common semiconducting materials are crystalline solids, primarily silicon, but amorphous and liquid semiconductors are also known.
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Figure: Ground-state and excited-state charge density contours for an electron bound to a P donor in Si. The electron can be coherently switched between the two states using THz radiation. [Courtesy Thornton Greenland]