Difference between P Type and N Type Semiconductor

Key Difference: The P Type and N Type are two different types of semiconductors. The P Type carries a positive charge, while the N type carries a negative charge. The charges depend on the hole concentration and the electron concentration. The P type semiconductor has a larger hole concentration, which results in the positive charge. Similarly, the N type has a larger electron concentration than the hole concentration, which results in a negative charge.

The P Type and N Type are two different types of semiconductors; specifically they are types of extrinsic semiconductors. Semiconductors come in two primary types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic semiconductors are semiconductors that are pure, what that means is that they don’t have any doping agents added, whereas the extrinsic semiconductors do.

The adding of the doping agents changes the electron and hole carrier concentrations of the semiconductor at thermal equilibrium. Thermal equilibrium is the temperature at which two adjacent substances exchange no heat energy. Basically, it allows one to manipulate the semiconductor to lower its resistance.

Extrinsic semiconductors have very common uses; primarily they are used as components in electrical devices where they provide high electrical resistance.  Extrinsic semiconductors are essentially divided into two types: P Type and N Type.

They are named as such due to the charge that they carry. The P Type carries a positive charge, while the N type carries a negative charge. The charges depend on the hole concentration and the electron concentration. The P type semiconductor has a larger hole concentration, which results in the positive charge. Similarly, the N type has a larger electron concentration than the hole concentration, which results in a negative charge.

Some of the other differences between P Type and N Type Semiconductors include the fact that P Type semiconductors are created by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with acceptor impurities, whereas the n type is created by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with donor impurities. The most common types of dopant for P type is boron, aluminum or gallium; whereas the most common type of dopant for N type is phosphorus, antimony and arsenic.

The p-type semiconductors have a larger hole concentration than electron concentration, whereas the n-type semiconductors have a larger electron concentration than hole concentration. Additionally, in an n-type semiconductor, the Fermi level is greater than that of the intrinsic semiconductor. It also lies closer to the conduction band than the valence band. In the p-type semiconductor, on the other hand, the Fermi level is below the intrinsic Fermi level and it lies closer to the valence band than the conduction band.

Comparison between P Type and N Type Semiconductor:

 

P Type

N Type

Type of

Extrinsic semiconductor

Extrinsic semiconductor

Description

A type of extrinsic semiconductor that carries a positive charge and has an improved conductivity.

A type of extrinsic semiconductor that carries a negative charge and has an improved conductivity.

Hole concentration

Larger hole concentration

Less hole concentration

Electron concentration

Less electron concentration

Larger electron concentration

Charge

Positive charge of the hole

Negative charge of the electron

Carriers

Holes are the majority carriers and electrons are the minority carriers

Electrons are the majority carriers and holes are the minority carriers

Creation

Created by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with acceptor impurities

Created by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with donor impurities

Dopant

Common p-type dopant for silicon is boron. Others include aluminum or gallium.

Common dopant for n-type silicon is phosphorus. Others include antimony and arsenic.

Effect of doping

Acceptor impurity creates a hole.

Donor impurities contributes free electrons

Contains

Trivalent impurities

Pentavalent impurities

Fermi level

Fermi level is below the intrinsic Fermi level and lies closer to the valence band than the conduction band

Fermi level is greater than that of the intrinsic semiconductor and lies closer to the conduction band than the valence band

Reference: Wikipedia (Semiconductor and Extrinsic Semiconductor), Gitam, Hyper Physics
Image Courtesy:hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu

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Comments

The p type semiconductor is not charged. It is electrically neutral as a whole. same for the n type.

Thanks for the great article. Well summarized and straight to the point. Only correction to this section "The p-type semiconductors have a larger hole concentration than electron concentration, whereas the n-type semiconductors have a larger hole concentration than electron concentration. " To this "The p-type semiconductors have a larger hole concentration than electron concentration, whereas the n-type semiconductors have a larger electron concentration than hole concentration. " Thank you.

Thank you for pointing that out. It has been fixed.

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