One tiny electronic parts technology drives the biggest breakthroughs: Semiconductors! When you think of semiconductors you can’t help but see a world filled with opportunity and optimism.
Innovation push from research by big technology companies have led to advancement of semiconductors to an extent that it is hard to imagine what life would be without crucial devices like smartphones, television sets, gaming consoles, wearable gadgets and dog tracking collars for our pets, computers etc.
What is a semiconductor?
In layman’s language, it is a microchip or other engineers will refer to them as integrated circuits (IC). Semiconductors are made from pure elements (intrinsic) but are doped with impurities to increase their conductivity levels. Another type of semiconductor is the discrete semiconductor parts which include: diodes for rectification, transistors for amplification and transistors & thyristors for switching.
Below we will discuss how to find electronic parts online like semiconductors and how they have influenced and improved efficiency in various verticals to what technology writers call a feat of human ingenuity and modern marvel.
A few key terms to note:
Fabless – Product design companies
Foundries – Fabricators of semiconductors
IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturers) – Do both design and manufacturing of semiconductors i.e., a combination of Fabless & Foundries
How Electronic parts industries semiconductors have revolutionised the our world
1. Communication (5G technology)
Covid-19 has been a big factor to improve the communication between people. As a result governments around the world have been pushing for an overhaul of infrastructure upgrades especially in telecommunications. 5G is the new generation of wireless technology which its predecessor 3G led to the launch of smart mobile phones.
Manufacturers producing microchips and semiconductors championing 5G include microchip, Nordic semiconductor and STMicroelectronics that are at the forefront of system-on-chip (SoC) technology including LoRa (long range) wireless products like the STM32WL and development kits that help in real time power consumption for consumer electronics like the NRF PPK2 power profiler kit that support on of the 3 topologies (Bluetooth, ANT & 2.4 GHz) and have high performance 5 GHz protocols chips already in the market.
2. Smart Transportation
Sensors and MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems), Microcontroller (MCU) have all brought great strides to making our cars smart. Cars are now capable of flashing warning of traffic congestion on your route in advance and redirect you even before you spot any highway warnings. Fuel tracking, infortainment, cruise control, crash avoidance systems, tire pressure monitors, hill assistance and anti-roll back systems, smart wipers that activate when it begins to rain. Our cars have become kitted with on-board systems that were unheard off 20 years ago. These are all marvels of the capabilities of semiconductors.
In the future, we know big tech companies are working on making their cars self-driven or autonomous. This will be packed with proximity sensors, cameras and gps navigation devices which shows the level of optimism the industry. In short Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) rely on car mounted semiconductors.
Semiconductors have taken numerous aspects of the healthcare and its estimated to be an industry that is worth $10s of billions. Semiconductors have been integrated into healthcare industry as their technology has facilitated practical and more faster prevention measures to some of the deadliest ailments known to man.
Equipment includes portable health monitors, pacemakers, blood pressure monitors, diagnostic devices for clinics, imaging devices used for ultrasound and scans for things like pregnant women, internal organs imaging and proximity navigation tools like drones used to deliver medical supplies using big data and satellite gps trackers navigations. Zipline international a Silicon Valley start-up is using sensors to guide drones and deliver medical supplies in Rwanda by accurately tracking the source of text message using global positioning systems. This will be discussed further when we talk of Artificial intelligence applied to biosensors.
4. Agriculture using drones & Artificial Intelligence
With IoT taking the lead in our lives, the agricultural sector is also taking a leading role in ensuring efficiency in all aspects of food production. For this to work and deliver great result, precision agriculture technics are being used from aerial, to ground based mobile systems on machinery equipment to stationery systems that take data from the farms.
For plant health monitoring, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or simply drones are used as aerial platforms using precision positioning sensors and motion sensors like Analog devices ADIS16470AMLZ inertial measurement unit. This high level semiconductors used in precision farming will help increase food security and production to help the increasing world population have food security.
5. Consumer electronics
Just like demand for semiconductors is rising with the emergence of IoT, automotive, agriculture and medical sector, so is the rise of consumer electronics. Did you know that LED bulbs use semiconductors? Baby toys use semiconductors especially the movable ones and remote controlled ones. Literary semiconductors are used in every imaginable electronic house devices; from HVAC with temperature sensors, electric fryers are able control food temperature precisely due to semiconductor chips, computers run efficiently and lightning fast because of semiconductors. I can continue the list endlessly.
MEMS sensors and power semiconductor devices will be used more on home appliances including smartphones, cookers, fridges, coffee machines, washing machines etc,.
In a nutshell, semiconductors are being used to fuel development in robotics, military frontlines, energy efficiency and clean energy and most importantly quantum computing.
Semiconductors have proven to be the technology enablers the world has been looking for. There is no doubt this industry is set to grow even bigger and this probably the beginning seeing the tremendous rate the industry is growing. As we know when the demand is high supply has to step up otherwise, laws in business dictate everything. At the end of the day, the industry is highly innovative and therefore, it’s a winner take all.
Article researched and edited by electronics components online writer Ben Kar.