p Type Semiconductor

The extrinsic p-Type Semiconductor is formed when a trivalent impurity is added to a pure semiconductor in a small amount, and as a result, a large number of holes are created in it. A large number of holes are provided in the semiconductor material by the addition of trivalent impurities like Gallium and Indium. Such type of impurities which produces p-type semiconductor are known as an Acceptor Impurities because each atom of them create one hole which can accept one electron.

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A trivalent impurity like gallium, having three valence electrons is added to germanium crystal in a small amount. Each atom of the impurity fits in the germanium crystal in such a way that its three valence electrons form covalent bonds with the three surrounding germanium atoms as shown in the figure below.

p-type-semiconductor-fig-1In the fourth covalent bonds, only the germanium atom contributes one valence electron, while gallium atom has no valence bonds. Hence, the fourth covalent bond is incomplete, having one electron short. This missing electron is known as a Hole. Thus, each gallium atom provides one hole in the germanium crystal.

As an extremely small amount of Gallium impurity has a large number of atoms, therefore, it provides millions of holes in the semiconductor.

Energy Band Diagram of p-Type Semiconductor

The energy band diagram of a p-Type Semiconductor is shown below.

p-type-semiconductor-fig-2A large number of holes or vacant space in the covalent bond is created in the crystal with the addition of the trivalent impurity. A small or minute quantity of free electrons is also available in the conduction band.

They are produced when thermal energy at room temperature is imparted to the germanium crystal forming electron-hole pairs. But the holes are more in number as compared to the electrons in the conduction band. It is because of the predominance of holes over electrons that the material is called as a p-type semiconductor. The word “p” stands for the positive material.

Conduction Through p Type Semiconductor

In p type semiconductor large number of holes are created by the trivalent impurity. When a potential difference is applied across this type of semiconductor as shown in the figure below.

p-type-semiconductor-fig-3The holes are available in the valence band are directed towards the negative terminal. As the current flow through the crystal is by holes, which are carrier of positive charge, therefore, this type of conductivity is known as positive or p type conductivity. In a p type conductivity the valence electrons move from one covalent to another.

The conductivity of n type semiconductor is nearly double to that of p type semiconductor. The electrons available in the conduction band of the n type semiconductor are much more movable than holes available in the valence band in a p type semiconductor. The mobility of holes is poor as they are more bound to the nucleus.

Even at the room temperature the electron hole pairs are formed. These free electrons which are available in minute quantity also carry a little amount of current in the p type semiconductors.

Also See: n Type Semiconductor

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