Browse Definitions:

silicon (Si)

Contributor(s): Kimberly Andi

Silicon is a chemical element (its symbol in chemical formula expressions is "Si") that is present in sand and glass and which is the best known semiconductor material in electronic components. Its atomic number is 14. The most common isotope has atomic weight 28. In its pure state, silicon is a metal-like substance with an appearance and heft somewhat resembling aluminum. In its natural state, silicon appears bound up with other elements in the form of compounds. It is abundant in the crust of the earth.

Silicon conducts electricity to an extent that depends on the extent to which impurities are added. The addition of impurities to silicon, or to any semiconductor material, is called doping . Some impurities produce N-type silicon, in which the majority charge carriers are negatively charged electron s. Other impurities result in the production of P-type silicon, in which the majority charge carriers are positively charged hole s. Most silicon devices contain both N-type and P-type material.

Silicon is used in a wide variety of electronic and computer components, including:

This was last updated in March 2011

Continue Reading About silicon (Si)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.



File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.