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.
Silicon is used in components, e.g. filters or deflectors, for telecommunications. So far, however, all these components have been flat, or 2D. Researchers have developed a new etching method for these structures that results 3D microstructures in silicon. Suitable for fiber optic communications, their optical properties are adjustable at the micrometer scale.
The ability to determine the composition and physics of nanoscale materials and devices at NIST is about to improve dramatically with the arrival of a new near-field scanning microwave microscope (NSMM) design. Researchers there, using existing commercial and homemade NSMMs, have pioneered many applications, notably including determination of semiconductor dopant distribution in 2D and 3D. Now they hope to look at mechanical and magnetic resonance on the nanoscale.
University of Illinois researchers have a new, low-cost method to carve delicate features onto semiconductor wafers using light—and watch as it happens. The researchers' new technique can monitor a semiconductor's surface as it is etched, in real time, with nanometer resolution, using a special type of microscope that uses two beams of light to precisely measure topography.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.