The key difference between silicon and gallium-arsenide is that electrons move slower in the silicon arsenide structure, whereas electrons race through the crystalline structure of gallium-arsenide.
Silicon and gallium-arsenide can be compared according to their electronic and crystalline structures to determine their commercial advantages. These are useful in manufacturing semiconductor materials.
What is Silicon Arsenide?
Silicon arsenide is a semiconductor material having the chemical formula Si-As. The molar mass of this compound is 103.007 g/mol. It appears as a crystalline solid material, and its density is about 3.31 g/cm3. The crystal phase or structure of the crystalline material can be described as monoclinic. This semiconductor material is useful in the production of semiconductors to substitute direct arsenide use because arsenide is considered a harmful chemical element to deal with.
Semiconducting materials are usually crystal structures that are produced from starting materials with ultra-high purity. These starting materials are used in several large electric muffle furnaces, tube furnaces for hydrogen reduction, 50-gallon glass-lined Pfaudler reactors that are supported by the analytical laboratory consisting of X-ray diffraction, etc. Some synonyms for silicon arsenide include silicon-arsenic alloy, arsenic silicide, CAS 15455-99-9, etc. However, the IUPAC name given for this semiconducting material is λ1-arsanylsilicon.
What is Gallium-Arsenide?
Gallium-arsenide is a semiconductor material having the chemical formula GaAs. It is useful in some diodes, field-effect transistors, and integrated circuits. The charge carriers of this material are electrons that can move at high speed among atoms.
Gallium-arsenide is an III-V direct band gap semiconductor having a zinc blend crystal structure. We can use it to manufacture devices such as microwave frequency integrated circuits, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, infrared light-emitting diodes, laser diodes, solar cells, and optical windows. Moreover, this material is used for the epitaxial growth of other III-V semiconductors such as indium gallium-arsenide and aluminum gallium-arsenide.
The molar mass of gallium-arsenide is 144.645 g/mol. It appears as gray crystals. Moreover, it has an odor similar to garlic when moistened. The density of gallium-arsenide is 5.32 g/cm3, and its melting point can be given as 1238 degrees Celsius. It is insoluble in water but soluble in HCl. Further, it is insoluble in ethanol, methanol, and acetone. Its crystal structure can be described as a zinc blend where the coordination geometry is tetrahedral. Its molecular shape is linear.
In its compound, gallium shows the oxidation state +3, and the single crystals of gallium-arsenide can be prepared using the three following industrial processes:
- Vertical freeze process
- Crystal growth using horizontal furnace (Bridgman-Stockbarger technique)
- Liquid encapsulated Czochralski growth method
What is the Difference Between Silicon and Gallium-Arsenide?
Silicon and gallium-arsenide are two important semiconductor materials. These materials have electrons as charge carriers. The key difference between silicon and gallium-arsenide is that the electrons move slower in silicon structure, whereas electrons race through the crystalline structure of gallium-arsenide. Moreover, gallium-arsenide is more efficient than silicon arsenide. Silicon arsenide is used in the production of semiconductors as a substitute for direct arsenic use while gallium-arsenide is used in the manufacture of light-emitting diodes, which can be found in optical communications and control systems.
The below infographic presents the differences between silicon and gallium-arsenide in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Silicon vs Gallium-Arsenide
Silicon arsenide is a semiconductor material having the chemical formula Si-As, while gallium-arsenide is a semiconductor material having the chemical formula GaAs. The key difference between silicon and gallium-arsenide is that the electrons move slower in silicon structure, whereas electrons race through the crystalline structure of gallium-arsenide.
1. “Silicon Arsenide.” American Elements, 13 June 2017.
1. “Gallium-arsenide-unit-cell-3D-balls” By Benjah-bmm27 – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia