University of Utah metallurgists have used an old microwave oven to produce a nanocrystal semiconductor rapidly using cheap, abundant, and less toxic metals than other semiconductors. X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and atomic spectroscopy all helped confirm that the CZTS (copper, zinc, tin, and sulfur) semiconductor was suitable for use in a solar cell.
At this week’s International Image Sensor Workshop in Utah, Belgium’s imec and Holst...
University of Utah metallurgists have used an old microwave oven to produce a nanocrystal...
Unlike the building blocks of conventional hard disk drives and memories, resistive...
Silicon dominates in microelectronics and photovoltaics industry, but has been considered unsuitable for light-emitting diodes for a long time. At the nanoscale, however, its properties change. Scientists in Germany and Canada have now succeeded in manufacturing silicon-based light-emitting diodes (SiLEDs) using silicon nanocrystals a few nanometers in size. They are free of heavy metals and can emit light in various colors.
Organic semiconductors hold promise for making low-cost flexible electronics—if they can perform in spite of frequent flexing and sharp bending. Scientists have recently demonstrated extremely flexible organic semiconductors that withstood multiple bending cycles in which the devices were rolled to a radius as small as 200 μm. The scientists worked with numerous crystalline devices they made and found no degradation in their performance.
Researchers at Columbia University are attempting to build self-powered systems using nanoscale devices that can transmit and receive wireless signals using so little power that their batteries never need replacing. Some of the chips built so far are 100 times more energy efficient than most standard technologies, and they rely on tiny bits of ambient solar energy to recharge themselves.
Advanced electronics are indispensable in modern warfare, but locating and tracking them all on the field of battle is almost impossible. To prevent valuable and strategic technology from falling into enemy hands, DARPA has announced the Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, which has the aim of improving “transient” electronics, or electronics capable of dissolving into the environment around them.
Researchers in Germany have developed a new generation of image sensors that are more sensitive to light than the conventional silicon versions. Simple and cheap to produce, they consist of electrically conductive plastics which are sprayed onto the sensor surface in an ultra-thin layer. The chemical composition of the polymer spray coating can be altered so that even the invisible range of the light spectrum can be captured.
Silica microwires are the tiny and as-yet underutilized cousins of optical fibers. If precisely manufactured, however, these hair-like slivers of silica could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber. By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica nanoparticles to self-assemble into much more highly uniform silica wires.
Existing optical beamsteering assemblies for technologies like LADAR, which scans a field of view with a laser to determine distance, are typically mechnical, bulky, slow, and inaccurate. In an effort to design a better, scalable technology, DARPA researchers have recently demonstrated the most complex optical phased array ever built onto a 2D chip.
Electronics devices are a mainstay of our daily lives. But the expectation that the next shopping season will inevitably offer an upgrade to more-powerful gadgets largely depends on size, and developers who employ top down manufacturing methods are running into expensive roadblocks as the domain shrinks to the nanoscale. To go further, some researchers looking at a bottom up method, coaxing individual molecules to self-arrange into patterns.
Not everything there is “high-tech”, but the annual Consumer Electronics Show is a great place to see the newest and most fanciful products to reach the market each year. From the iPotty for toddlers to the 1,600-pound (725-kg) mechanical spider and the host of glitch-ridden "smart" TVs, the International CES show is a forum for gadget makers to take big—and bizarre—chances.
A completely new method of manufacturing the smallest structures in electronics could make their manufacture thousands of times quicker, allowing for cheaper semiconductors. Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate, as is usual today, researchers have made it possible for the structures to grow from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas.
When it comes to imaging, every single photon counts if there is barely any available light. This is the point where the latest technologies often reach their limits. Researchers have now developed a single photon avalanche photodiode that can read individual photons in just a few picoseconds. The speed allows the image sensor to capture high quality images with very low light levels.
People can let their fingers—and hands—do the talking with a new touch-activated system that projects onto walls and other surfaces and allows users to interact with their environment and each other. Developed at Purdue University, the "extended multitouch" system allows more than one person to use a surface at the same time and also enables people to use both hands, distinguishing between the right and left hand.
When stretched, a layer of silicon can build up internal mechanical strain which can considerably improve its electronic properties. Using this principle, engineers have developed a method which allows them to produce 30-nm-thick highly strained wires in a silicon layer. This strain is the highest that has ever been observed in a material which can serve as the basis for electronic components.
Sinmat, Inc.'s (Gainesville, Fla.) Ultra-Rapid Polishing Slurry for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors is a technology that uses a combination of reactive nanoparticles and chemistry to convert hard wide band-gap material into a softer layer for rapid removal. Smooth finishing is then accomplished with surfactant and other materials that refine the surface to atomic step levels.
The high-stakes semiconductor industry is historically risk-averse, because big changes lead to big risk in a complex, round-the-clock manufacturing operation. The Tempus High-Productivity Combinatorial Research & Development Workflow has been introduced by Intermolecular (San Jose, Calif.) to eliminate some of this risk by providing an experimentation platform that can automate large numbers of samples at once.
Companies looking for chip-interconnect solutions for high-volume electronic products can choose from two major types: solder alloys and conductive epoxies. For high-temperature applications, however, researchers at Virginia Tech and NBE Technologies LLC (both of Blacksburg, Va.) believe neither choice is optimal. Steering away from gold, tin, or lead mixtures, these researchers developed nanoTach, a smooth viscous semiconductive nanomaterial paste designed to significantly improve performance and reliability above 175°C.
The High-Efficiency Multiband Semiconductor Material for Solar Cells, developed by Wladyslaw Walukiewicz and Kin Yu at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, Calif.), offers a combination of low cost and full-spectrum efficiency, the multiband semiconductor demonstrates that this tradeoff is not inevitable and opens a path forward for them development of photovoltaic systems as a major source of electric power.
By subjecting a confined volume of oxygen or nitrogen gas to a powerful laser, ENABLE: Energetic Neutral Atom Beam Lithography/Epitaxy, developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, N.M.), by Mark Hoffbauer, Alexander Mueller, and Elshan Akhadov, creates a plasma from which high kinetic-energy neutral atoms are then extracted and collimated. The resulting collimated beam is then used to directly activate surface chemical reactions, forming the basis.
Diamonds have always been considered an extreme material to surpass all other known materials in their physical properties. Despite this, the use of diamond has been limited to gem jewelry at one end of the spectrum and cutting and grinding applications on the other. Due to the high levels of impurities present in mined diamond, optical, and semiconductor applications have been out of reach. To meet the need for high-purity diamond, researchers at Apollo Diamond, Inc. (Framingham, Mass.) have developed Apollo Diamond, man-made, high-purity, colorless, real single crystal diamond wafers for optical and semiconductor applications and devices.
For more than 40 years, researchers have built tiny resonating elements on silicon, but have never met the stringent performance and cost requirements to replace crystal quartz. Researchers at SiTime Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) have now solved these shortcomings with their Silicon Mechanical Resonator, SiT8002, SiT1564, and SiT11xx. SiTime builds these elements below the surface of the silicon wafer, encapsulating them under silicon where they are protected from the environment and allowing the silicon chip to be packaged inexpensively, just like any other silicon chip.
In order to speed EUV development, researchers need a light source that will produce reliable, high power EUV light. The EQ-10 Series EUV Light Source, developed by Donald Smith, Paul Blackborow, Matt Besen, and Stephen Horne at Energetiq Technology, Inc. (Woburn, Mass.), is just such a system. The EQ-10 is an electrodeless Z-Pinch EUV light source producing 10 W of power at 13.5 nm.
A new plating technology developed by Rozalia Beica at Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials, LLC (Freeport, N.Y.) delivers fine-grained, smooth, solderable reflowed solder bumps with consistent deposit composition. The process, High Speed Tin/Silver/Copper Electroplating Process for Wafer Bumps, is a low-foaming, organic sulfonate electroplating process for the high-speed deposition of uniform, fine grain, matte tin/silver/copper from a single plating solution.
Swagelok Company, Willoughby, Ohio, designed the Swagelok ALD series diaphragm valve, a technology that provides regular, repeatable pulses at a very high rate of speed, up to 10 cycles per second and is designed to have an extended life cycle of >50 million cycles.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn., in a joint effort with SensArray Corp., Fremont, Calif., have developed the SensArray INtegrated Wafer, a fully integrated wireless metrology system that responds like a production wafer.