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Conductor vs. Semiconductor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 26, 2024
Conductors easily allow the flow of electric current, typically metals; semiconductors have a conductivity between conductors and insulators, crucial in electronics.

Key Differences

Conductors are materials that allow the free flow of electric current due to their low resistance, primarily metals like copper and silver. Semiconductors, in contrast, have an electrical conductivity that is between that of a conductor and an insulator, making them unique in their electrical properties.
The conductivity of a conductor is largely temperature independent, often slightly decreasing as temperature increases. Semiconductors exhibit increased conductivity with rising temperature, as more charge carriers are available to conduct electricity.
In conductors, the outer electrons are loosely bound, making them free to move and carry charge. Semiconductors, however, have fewer free charge carriers under normal conditions; their conductivity can be significantly altered by adding impurities, a process known as doping.
Conductors are often used in electrical wiring and power transmission due to their high electrical conductivity. Semiconductors are integral to modern electronics, used in diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits, where precise control of electrical properties is crucial.
Conductors are usually stable in their conductivity, while semiconductors can change their conductivity under different conditions, like the application of light, heat, or electric fields, allowing for their use in sensors and other electronic components.

Comparison Chart

Electrical Conductivity

High, allows free flow of electricity
Moderate, between conductor and insulator

Temperature Dependence

Slightly decreases with temperature
Increases with rising temperature

Charge Carriers

Abundant, freely moving electrons
Fewer, mobility increased by doping


Electrical wiring, power transmission
Diodes, transistors, integrated circuits

Conductivity Stability

Generally stable
Varies under different conditions

Conductor and Semiconductor Definitions


A substance with free-moving electrons allowing easy current flow.
The metal conductor efficiently transmitted the electric current.


Can be altered in conductivity through doping.
By doping the semiconductor, we enhanced its electrical properties.


A material that readily conducts electricity.
Copper wires are used as conductors in electrical cables.


Sensitive to changes in light, heat, or electric fields.
The semiconductor sensor reacted to the change in light.


A material with high electrical conductivity.
Silver is an excellent conductor of electricity.


A material with conductivity between a conductor and an insulator.
Silicon, a semiconductor, is essential in microelectronics.


A material whose conductivity is not significantly affected by temperature.
The conductor maintained consistent performance despite temperature changes.


Used in electronic devices for controlling electric current.
The semiconductor chip was the core of the smartphone's processor.


Used for making wires and components in electrical circuits.
We used a gold conductor for the high-precision electronic device.


A material whose conductivity increases with temperature.
This semiconductor's conductivity improves as it heats up.


One who is in charge of a railroad train, bus, or streetcar.


Any of various solid crystalline substances, such as germanium or silicon, having electrical conductivity greater than insulators but less than good conductors, and used especially as a base material for microchips and other electronic devices.


(Music) One who directs an orchestra or other such group.


An integrated circuit or other electronic component containing a semiconductor as a base material.


(physics) A substance with electrical properties intermediate between a good conductor and a good insulator.


A substance as germanium or silicon whose electrical conductivity is intermediate between that of a metal and an insulator; its conductivity increases with temperature and in the presence of impurities


A conductor made with semiconducting material


What are examples of semiconductors?

Silicon, germanium, and gallium arsenide.

What are examples of conductors?

Copper, silver, and gold.

Why are conductors important in electronics?

They're used for wiring and connections due to their high conductivity.

Does temperature affect a conductor’s conductivity?

Yes, but minimally, usually decreasing slightly with temperature.

What is a semiconductor?

A material with electrical conductivity between a conductor and insulator.

Why are semiconductors important in electronics?

They're used in chips and circuits for controlled conductivity.

What is a conductor?

A material that allows easy flow of electric current.

What is the role of semiconductors in transistors?

They control the flow of current and amplify signals.

Is silver a good conductor?

Yes, it's one of the best electrical conductors.

How does temperature affect a semiconductor's conductivity?

Conductivity increases with temperature.

Can the conductivity of a semiconductor be altered?

Yes, through doping and external conditions like light and heat.

Are semiconductors affected by light?

Yes, many semiconductors change conductivity with light exposure.

What makes a material a good conductor?

High density of free electrons allowing easy current flow.

Is silicon a good conductor?

As a semiconductor, silicon's conductivity is moderate and controllable.

Are conductors affected by light?

Generally, no, conductors are not light-sensitive.

What characteristics define a semiconductor?

Moderate conductivity and sensitivity to environmental changes.

Can the conductivity of a conductor be easily changed?

No, it remains relatively constant.

In what devices are conductors commonly used?

Electrical cables, motors, and power systems.

Are conductors used in making transistors?

No, transistors are typically made from semiconductors.

In what devices are semiconductors commonly used?

Computers, smartphones, and solar cells.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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