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The question came in my mind because of the definition of doping. For p-type we create holes just above the valence band. This creates holes in the valence band which can contribute to conduction.

For N-type, you create electrons just beneath the conduction band, this pushes extra electrons into the conduction band which can contribute to conduction.

So, essentially, if it is chemical and material wise possible, you could also add these extra electrons or holes to an insulator?

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Yes, it's possible. I think the actual problem will be to find dopants, which have energy levels close to the band edges.

A good real world example is ITO (indium doped tin oxide). It's a transparent conductor, meaning it has a large bandgap and can conduct current.

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  • $\begingroup$ So the reason why we use semiconductors instead of insulators (considering both as doped) is simply a difficulty in finding "materials" for doping? Or are there any other differences in conduction/behaviour which make semiconductors better? I was thinking about recombination processes that may be "easier" in semiconductors, but I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ – Maurizio Carcassona Feb 29 '20 at 5:38

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