Physics

Defining Semiconductors



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Electron Super Highway

Our world runs on electricity. The simple invention of moving electrons through wire has changed our world. However, electricity has essentially remained unchanged in the years since its invention. Our electric infrastructure is still just a simple system of copper conductors and resistors. A super conductor is the next step forward for electricity. If I were to change science with a creation, I would change it with practical super conductors.

A super conductor is a lossless conductor with no internal resistance. A standard copper wire loses a part of the electricity flowing through it because of the internal resistance of the copper wire. An effective super conductor could change the way we transfer and use electricity because we would never lose power in transit. For a world as power hungry as we are, our endless thirst for energy could be quenched. Power could be sent from one generating station to the entire world through super conductors. Places provided with renewable energy (hydro electric/wind) could send that energy to places with no such resources, places were thermoelectric is the mode of choice. Micro-processors could reach exponentially greater computing power with a superconducting core. If copper wire is a dirt road, then a super conductor is like the autobahn.

Right now, we have super conductors. However, current super conductors must be kept at ridiculously low temperatures to function. A current super conductor can only function at such low temperature levels, that the amount of energy required to keep a super conductor cool, defeats the purpose of having one. My goal however, is to create a room temperature' super conductor, one that does not need to be constantly cooled to function. Once a room temperature super conductor is created, the potential of a super conductor is realized.

However, it is increasing the temperature required for super conducting is the real challenge. As temperature increases, so does resistance. Thus the higher the temperature, the harder it is to super conduct. The key is to find the right material. A super conducting material needs to have the perfect alignment of atoms and electrons for conduction. This makes a superconducting a matter of both physics and chemistry. As we learn more about how electrons move and why the nature of a material affects the materials conducting ability, we get close to that room temperature goal.

Super conductors have limitless potential. As our society increases its thirst for power, a new vessel is needed. A superconductor will change the way we use and transport electricity. Out of all the four fundamental forces, we currently have the most control over electromagnetism, thus if we could take this next step, we can do great things with science. The progress of superconducting is slow and complex, yet, in the next few years, things will begin to change very rapidly. Although it might not be front page material, the superconductor is one of the most important potential inventions in science.

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