Semi-metals or metalloids are elements with properties that are intermediate between those of metals and solid non-metals. Semi-metals are important semiconductors, and being too brittle and weak for structural applications, they are often used in computers and other electronic devices, as well as ceramics, polymers and batteries.
Semi-metals such as germanium and silicon were critical in the development of the first transistors in the late 1940s. In fact, Silicon, the most abundant metalloid in Earth’s crust, gives name to the eponymous valley where the manufacturers and innovators of the silicon chip were based in 1950s. They are used in just about everything that’s computerised, for example phones, computers, printers, gaming devices and calculators.