Semiconductors have had a monumental impact on our society. You find semiconductors at the heart of microprocessor chips as well as transistors. Anything that's computerized or uses radio waves depends on semiconductors.

Today, most semiconductor chips and transistors are created with silicon. You may have heard expressions like "Silicon Valley" and the "silicon economy," and that's why -- silicon is the heart of any electronic device.

Clockwise from top: A chip, an LED and a transistor are all made from semiconductor material.

A diode is the simplest possible semiconductor device, and is therefore an excellent beginning point if you want to understand how semiconductors work. In this article, you'll learn what a semiconductor is, how doping works and how a diode can be created using semiconductors.