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Solid state devices and electronics

Those circuits which are built by entirely solid materials with the electrons, charge carriers confined entirely within the solid material are termed as solid electronic. The term is often used in contrast with the earlier dated technologies for example, gas discharge tubes and vacuum devices. Electro mechanical devices such as switches, relays, hard drives and other devices having moving parts are excluded from the term solid state devices. Solid state devices include amorphous crystalline and poly crystalline solids and also refer to the insulators, conductors and semiconductors. The building material is most often the crystalline semiconductor. Other commonly used solid state devices are microprocessor chips, transistors and DRAM. The DRAM devices find their usage in flash drives and computers. The mechanically rotating magnetic strips are also replaced by solid state drives. This expression became more prevalent in the decades of 1950’s and 1960’s. These were the years when semiconductor diodes and transistors replaced vacuum tubes. As of now, the solid state devices also include integrated circuits, the liquid crystal display and the light emitting diode.

The current in the solid state devices is confined to the solid elements and mounds which are switched and engineered specifically for switching and amplifying it. The current flow is in two forms, the negatively charged electrons and as the positively charged electron deficiencies which are also termed as electron holes. In semiconductors the current consists of holes or electrons. The electron and the hole serve the purpose of carrying charge. Solid state devices are also used for the purpose of data storage. They are a bit more expensive as compared to other devices but are much more reliable and faster. The disks, tapes and the optical disks are increasingly improving their cost per performance ratio with a gradual drop in prices.

The first solid state devise which was designed was the Cat Whisker detector. It was built in the year 1930. The radio receivers used a whisker like wire which was placed in light contact with a solid crystal which was made of germanium crystal. This structure detected a radio signal by using the contact junction effect. Another major invention was the transistor, built in the year 1947.

Semiconductors are another form of solid state devices. They are electronic components used for exploiting the electronic properties of the semiconductor materials. The material can be germanium, silicon, gallium arsenide and organic as well. Most application which used to run on thermionic devices (like vacuum tubes) now runs on semiconductor. The semiconductor devices use electronic conduction in the solid state which makes it different from the gaseous or thermionic emission which are used in high vacuum.

Semiconductor as a solid device

The discrete devices and integrated circuits are the two forms of semiconductor devices manufactures and few or a billon of IC’s can be interconnected on a single semiconductor substrate. By the process of doping (adding impurities), the behavior of the substrate can be easily manipulated. This increases the usefulness of the semiconductors. The semiconductors make excellent sensors and can be controlled by exposure to light or heat, by magnetic and electrical fields and also by causing mechanical deformation by using a doped monocrystallline grid.

Solar cell as a solid device

This solid state device uses a photovoltaic cell for converting the energy of light into electricity. Various cells are assembelised for making solar modules that capture energy from sunlight. These assemblies of cell are also termed as solar panels. Solar power is the name given to the energy emanating out of these cells. Photovoltaic’s is that field of technology and research which is related to the practical application of photovoltaic cells for producing electricity form light. The term photovoltaic cell does not means that the light received is form sun only. These can also be used for detection of sunlight and other electromagnetic radiation which are located near the visible range of the electro magnetic spectrum.