Silicon, Physical and Chemical Properties
Reference work entry
Silicon is a metalloid having the diamond structure (Fig. 1). It has the appearance of a metal (Fig. 2) but lacks all properties of metals. Modern electronics is almost exclusively (>95%) based on silicon devices and these are made from single-crystal silicon. Silica, SiO 2, is the major constituent of rock-forming minerals in magmatic and metamorphic rocks; it accounts for ca. 75% of the Earth’s crust. The basic building block of the silicates is the SiO 44− tetrahedron (Fig. 3). The variety in the structures of the silicates is due to the various possible combinations of these tetrahedral, both with each other and also with other ions.
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