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Light helps scientists monitor semiconductor etching as it happens

September 30, 2012 5:36 pm | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, University of Illinois | News | Comments

Semiconductors are commonly shaped by etching with chemicals, but these methods can be . time-consuming, costly, and error-prone. A new technique from researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign can monitor a semiconductor’s surface as it is etched, in real time, with nanometer resolution. It uses a special type of microscope that uses two beams of light to very precisely measure topography.

Novel materials become multifunctional at ultimate quantum limit

September 25, 2012 9:17 am | News | Comments

A University of Arkansas physicist and his colleagues have examined the lower limits of novel materials called complex oxides and discovered that unlike conventional semiconductors the materials not only conduct electricity, but also develop unusual magnetic properties.

Silicon, erbium are built on one chip for the first time

September 24, 2012 4:44 am | News | Comments

Within optical microchips, light finds its way through waveguides made of silicon, and is amplified with the help of other semiconductors, such as gallium arsenide and erbium. But until recent work in The Netherlands, no chip existed on which both silicon and erbium-doped material had been successfully integrated. The new chip now amplifies light up to 170 Gbit/sec.

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New photonic wire waveguide transmits data by the terabit

September 20, 2012 8:00 am | News | Comments

A team researchers in Germany has succeeded in developing a highly effective and manufacturing-ready optical connection between semiconductor chips. Their “photonic wire bonding” invention, based on an optical polymer and built using a combination of 3D imaging and laser lithography, reaches data transmission rates in the range of several terabits per second.

Imec demonstrates electronics that flex and stretch like skin

September 18, 2012 6:12 am | News | Comments

Belgium-based semiconductor manufacturing firm imec announced Tuesday that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.

Cutting-edge startup aims for nano-close shave

September 18, 2012 3:37 am | News | Comments

Nano-Sharp Inc., a new company founded using technology developed at the University of California Davis, plans to use silicon wafers to make razor blades and surgical tools far more cheaply than current silicon or ceramic blades. Conventional blades are made by sharpening the edge of a silicon wafer, but the company’s patented new technique creates blades across the surface of the wafer, delivering atom-scale sharpness.

Ancient diatoms could make biofuels and electronics

September 17, 2012 8:51 am | News | Comments

Diatoms, tiny marine life forms that have been around since the dinosaurs, could finally make biofuel production from algae truly cost effective—because they can simultaneously produce other valuable products such as semiconductors, biomedical products, and even health foods. Engineers at Oregon State University concede that such technology is pushing the envelope a bit. But it's not science fiction.

U.S. research and development most prevalent in small number of regions

September 13, 2012 4:29 am | News | Comments

According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.

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High-temperature superconductivity induced in semiconductor with tape

September 11, 2012 11:30 am | News | Comments

An international team led by University of Toronto physicists has developed a simple new technique using Scotch poster tape that has enabled them to induce high-temperature superconductivity in a semiconductor for the first time. The method paves the way for novel new devices that could be used in quantum computing and to improve energy efficiency.

Norway scientists commercialize semiconductors grown on graphene

September 11, 2012 3:58 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology report they have patented and are commercializing gallium arsenide (GaAs) nanowires grown on graphene. These semiconductors, which are being developed for market by the the company CrayoNano, are grown on atomically-thin graphene using molecular beam epitaxy.

Silicon chip to enable mass-manufacture of quantum technologies

September 4, 2012 4:33 am | News | Comments

An international research collaboration led by scientists in the U.K. has developed a new approach to quantum computing that could lead more widespread use of new quantum technologies. The breakthrough has been a move from glass-based circuitry that allowed circuits to manipulate photons to a silicon-based technology that accomplishes the same calculations using quantum mechanical effects.

IBM introduces new powerful mainframe computers

August 29, 2012 3:24 am | News | Comments

On Tuesday IBM introduced a new line of mainframe computers the company calls its most powerful and technologically advanced ever. The zEnterprise EC12 mainframe server is designed to help users securely and quickly sift through massive amounts of data. Running at 5.5 GHz, IBM said the microprocessor that powers the mainframe is the fastest chip in the world.

Researchers demonstrate that 15=3x5 about half of the time

August 20, 2012 7:56 am | News | Comments

A research team at the University of Santa Barbara has designed and fabricated a quantum processor capable of factoring a composite number—in this case the number 15—into its constituent prime factors, 3 and 5. Although modest compared to, say, a 600-digit number, the algorithm they developed was right about half the time, matching theoretical predictions and marking a milestone on the trail of building a stronger quantum computer.

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Patterning defect-free nanocrystal films with nanometer resolution

August 20, 2012 3:33 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Films made of semiconductor nanocrystals are seen as a promising new material for a wide range of applications. The size of a semiconductor nanocrystal determines its electrical and optical properties. But it's hard to control the placement of nanocrystals on a surface in order to make structurally uniform films. Now, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have found ways of making defect-free patterns of nanocrystal films where the shape and position of the films are controlled with nanoscale resolution.

Silicene: The future of electronics?

August 3, 2012 5:37 am | News | Comments

If recent research in Italy is an indication, the next generation of computing could be performed with silicene, an atomically thin form of silicon. The silicene structure consists of one atomic layer of silicon atoms and in this way it is analogous to graphene. With silicene, however, no modification is necessary to create a bandgap.

Wrinkled surfaces could have widespread applications

August 1, 2012 4:30 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers has discovered a way of making perfectly ordered and repeatable surfaces with patterns of microscale wrinkles. The method involves chemical vapor deposition of a layer onto a stretched silicon-polymer substrate. When tension is released first one way, then the other, a perfectly ordered wrinkled pattern emerges.

R & D 100 Winners Seek Success with Partners

July 27, 2012 8:43 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

R&D laboratories take on challenges of terrorism, energy, and communications in the new millennium.

Photovoltaics from any semiconductor

July 27, 2012 4:29 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have developed a technology that enables low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells to be made from virtually any semiconductor material. This opens the door to the use of plentiful, relatively inexpensive semiconductors previously considered unsuitable for photovoltaics.

Physicists create the world’s smallest semiconductor laser

July 26, 2012 11:13 am | News | Comments

A new semiconductor laser device, the smallest ever built, was created at the University of Texas at Austin and is constructed of a gallium nitride nanorod that is partially filled with indium gallium nitride. Operating below the 3D diffraction limit, the nanolaser emits a green light that is too small to be visible to the naked eye.

Lithography project could produce pliable cell phone

July 25, 2012 10:40 am | by Herb Booth | News | Comments

A new manufacturing process called “micropunching” lithography can be used to create lightweight, low-cost, and flexible polymer-based devices, such as sensors, actuators, or even a cellular telephone. According to its inventor, the technique has the potential to replace silicon-based materials commonly used in computers and other electronic devices.

Scalable device for quantum information processing

July 24, 2012 5:11 am | News | Comments

Researchers in National Physical Laboratory's Quantum Detection Group have demonstrated, for the first time, a monolithic 3D ion microtrap array which could be scaled up to handle several tens of ion-based quantum bits. The research shows how it is possible to realize this device embedded in a semiconductor chip, and demonstrates the device's ability to confine individual ions at the nanoscale.

Carbon-based transistors to ramp up speed, memory in mobile devices

July 16, 2012 10:06 am | News | Comments

Though smartphones and tablets are hailed as the hardware of the future, their present-day incarnations have some flaws. Most notoriously, low RAM memory limits the number of applications that can be run at one time and quickly consumes battery power. Researchers in Israel have used carbon molecules to build a sophisticated memory transistor that can both transfer and store energy, eliminating the need for a capacitor.

Graphene-silicon photonic circuits establish ultralow-power standard

July 15, 2012 3:18 pm | News | Comments

With the placement of a sheet of graphene, researchers at Columbia University have transformed an originally passive photonic integrated circuit into an active generator of microwave photonic signals. The device performs parametric wavelength conversion at telecommunication wavelengths, offering a glimpse at communications using very little power.

Technique self-assembles quantum dots with world’s highest density

July 13, 2012 8:51 am | News | Comments

Materials experts in Japan have recently developed an advanced self-assembling technology for semiconductor quantum dots called droplet epitaxy. This method has produced quantum dots with the world’s highest surface density, greatly exceeding the previously reported value.

Analysis of micro samples using the standalone FT-IR microscope LUMOS

July 12, 2012 4:39 am | White Papers

As electronic devices get smaller, they are becoming more vulnerable to contamination through the presence of impurities. Using a Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microscope such as Bruker Optics’ LUMOS, contaminations in the low micrometer range can be identified. In this white paper, Bruker demonstrates how FT-IR can be used to determine surface contamination on the soldering contact of a surface mounted device.

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