Most computer chips contain or are made of silicon. Why silicon? Why not copper or tellurium or some such?

  • $\begingroup$ You should consider asking the exact same question on Physics.SE, a very different answer would come up. :) $\endgroup$ – Aron Feb 2 '15 at 3:13

Most electron components of computer chips and boards are semiconductor devices like transistors and diodes. Silicon is, from the Wikipedia article on semiconductor devices:

By far, silicon (Si) is the most widely used material in semiconductor devices. Its combination of low raw material cost, relatively simple processing, and a useful temperature range make it currently the best compromise among the various competing materials

Silicon is the second most common element in the earth's crust after oxygen, and present in a variety of silicate minerals.

Electronics grade silicon can be produced easily by molten salt electrolysis of these minerals followed by purification by zone refining.

Copper is a conductor, and therefor not suitable for semiconductor devices. Tellurium is one of the rarest elements in the earth's crust.


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