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According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) – the leading voice in consumer electronics and technology forecasting – consumer technology retail revenue alone will reach a staggering bracket of $400 billion US dollars. So how does a fairly new industry compared to staple industries like agriculture or healthcare, keep up with the big red ball racing down the mountain that is technology?

A semiconductor is a material that has partial electrical conductivity. Electrical conductivity refers to a material’s ability to conduct an electric current, and as the name implies, the conductivity value of a semiconductor is between that of a conductor and that of an insulator. Semiconductors have many useful characteristics such as the ability to pass currents in one direction, variable resistance to currents, and sensitivity to heat and light.

Integrated circuits, also called microelectronic circuits, microchips, or just “chips,” are assemblies of electronic components fabricated as a single unit, in which miniaturized active devices like transistors and diodes, and passive devices like capacitors and resistors, as well as their interconnections, are built onto a thin substrate of semiconductor material, usually silicon. The resulting circuit is a small “chip,” which can be as small as a few square centimeters, while the individual components can be microscopic in size.

A variable resistor is a device that has the capacity to adjust electrical resistance. They are typically utilized when working with electrical circuitry as they are able to control different voltages and currents. Variable resistors are user friendly and come with a wiper contact that can be slid up or down the resistance track. The wiper contact position on the resistance track is what determines the true resistance value.

There really is no right or wrong answer to the question of “which is better, solid state relays or electromechanical relays?” You’ll hear different things with different reasons, depending on who you ask. It’s best to learn the differences between the two and make that judgement for yourself.

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