Sil"i*con (?), n. [See Silica.] Chem.

A nonmetalic element analogous to carbon. It always occurs combined in nature, and is artificially obtained in the free state, usually as a dark brown amorphous powder, or as a dark crystalline substance with a meetallic luster. Its oxide is silica, or common quartz, and in this form, or as silicates, it is, next to oxygen, the most abundant element of the earth's crust. Silicon is characteristically the element of the mineral kingdom, as carbon is of the organic world. Symbol Si. Atomic weight 28. Called also silicium.

<-- it is used as the basis for the most common type of transistors, in the form of a highly purified silicon impregnated with small quantities of imourities such as phosphorus or antimony, giving it special semiconductor properties. In this application, it forms the primary basis for the modern (post-1970) electronics industry, with integrated circuits containing millions of electronic componnets being imprinted by special processes on silicon chips less than one inch in diameter. -->


© Webster 1913.