I am just learning about semiconductors and this question arose. I can't find proper answers on Google.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing works at 0K as nothing can reach 0K \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Feb 10, 2017 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ hard to say, thermal contraction could easily break the package, hence the performance. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2017 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Go read this article, the relevant part is at the bottom: ecee.colorado.edu/~bart/book/extrinsi.htm So below 70 K most PN junctions will stop working. Most practical devices stop working at much higher temperatures. Most manufacturers only guarantee operation down to -40 Celcius because testing at lower temperatures is costly. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2017 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Semiconductors seem to go low conductance (high resistance) at low temperatures, like below 10 degrees K. Don't know about junctions of different doping at these temperatures. \$\endgroup\$
    – glen_geek
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Normal diodes work fine down to below 77K (liquid nitrogen). Below that, such as at 4K (liquid Helium) and below they often do strange things- carriers freeze out, they turn into oscillators, show hysteresis and so on.

Some specially made silicon diodes will work as low as 1.4K (we use them as sensors).


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