solid-state device

Electronic device that operates on the basis of the electric, magnetic, or optical properties of a solid material, especially one that uses a solid crystal in which an orderly three-dimensional arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules is repeated throughout the entire crystal. Synthetic crystals of elements such as silicon, gallium arsenide, and germanium are used in transistors, rectifiers, and integrated circuits. The first solid-state device was the “cat's whisker” (1906), in which a fine wire was moved across a solid crystal to detect a radio signal. Seealso semiconductor.

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Solid form of a liquid solution. As with liquids, a tendency for mutual solubility exists between any two coexisting solids (i.e., each can mix with the other); depending on the chemical similarities of the solids, mutual solubility of two substances may be 100percnt (as between silver and gold), or it may be near 0 (as between copper and bismuth).

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One of the three basic states of matter. A solid forms from either a liquid or a gas (the other two states of matter) because, as the energy of the atoms decreases, they coalesce in the relatively ordered, three-dimensional structure of a solid. All solids have the ability to support loads applied either perpendicular (normal) or parallel (shear) to a surface. Solids can be crystalline (as in metals), amorphous (as in glass), or quasicrystalline (as in certain metal alloys), depending on the degree of order in the arrangement of the atoms.

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also known as regular polyhedron

Geometric solid all of whose faces are identical regular polygons and all of whose angles are equal. There are only five such polyhedrons. The cube is constructed from the square, the dodecahedron from the regular pentagon, and the tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron (with 20 faces) from the equilateral triangle. They are known as the Platonic solids because of Plato's attempt to relate each to one of the five elements that he believed formed the world.

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