Broadly speaking, the two major areas of research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Microsystems Technology Laboratory are electronics—transistors in particular—and microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS—tiny mechanical devices with moving parts. Both strains of research could have significant implications for manufacturing in the United States, but at least for the moment, the market for transistor innovation is far larger.
Although the tiny device measures no more than 8 x 8 mm it takes eight weeks to produce a silicon drift detector (SDD), or silicon drift diode, which is a basic spectroscopic component of instruments like medical X-ray systems and detectors at CERN. Scientists in Norway represent one of just three worldwide suppliers of these exceedingly sensitive and difficult-to-produce devices.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have put together a sandwich of a ferroelectric layer between two ferromagnetic materials that responded to a short electric pulse. This changes the magnetic transport properties of the material in such a way that information can be placed in four states instead of just two. The potential increase in storage density is great.
Scientists using a variant of atomic force microscopy called Kelvin probe force microscopy, at low temperatures and in ultrahigh vacuum, have recently obtained the first image of the charge distribution within a single molecule. The molecule is the same as the type used in IBM’s single-molecule logic switch.
A long-standing controversy regarding the semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide, one of the most promising materials for spintronic technology, looks to have been resolved. Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Notre Dame University found the that the spintronic properties do not arise from a valence energy band, as many scientists have argued.
Complex transition metal oxides have for years held great promise for information and energy applications, but reducing the band gaps of these insulators without hurting performance has been a major challenge. A recent layer-by-layer growth method pioneered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has achieved a 30% reduction in this band gap, a significant improvement.
The smallest transistor ever built—in fact, the smallest transistor that can be built—has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University, and the University of Melbourne.
As integrated circuits and environmentally friendly technologies emerged, R&D 100 Award winners set the pace.
At this week's SPIE Advanced Lithography conference in San Jose, Calif., imec plans to announce the successful implementation of the world's first 300-mm fab-compatible directed self-assembly process line all under one roof.
Engineers at two universities and IBM Research’s Zurich, Switzerland, R&D center have developed an ultrasharp silicon carbide tip that is 10,000 times more wear resistant than previous than previous designs and 100,000 times smaller than the tip of a pencil.
Working together, Cadence Design Systems and Samsung Foundry have developed design-for-manufacturing work flows to tackle physical signoff and electrical variability optimization for 32- and 28-nm system-on-a-chip designs. Now, they extended advanced DFM flow to 20 nm as well.
Although of purely scientific interest for now, a method that researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented to alter magnetic properties in manganese-oxide materials without heating them up could greatly speed up low-voltage, non-volatile computer memory.
A research team led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside has identified a property of bilayer graphene (BLG) that the researchers say is analogous to finding the Higgs boson in particle physics. The physicists report that in investigating BLG's properties they found that when the number of electrons on the BLG sheet is close to 0, the material becomes insulating.
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have combined two worlds—quantum physics and nano physics—which have led to the discovery of a new method for laser cooling semiconductor membranes. The cooling method works quite paradoxically by heating the material. Using lasers, researchers cooled membrane fluctuations to -269 C.
Phase-change random access memory (PCRAM) is a promising technology for next-generation non-volatile memory, but it has been limited by room temperature efficiency. A research group in Japan recently invented a variation of PCRAM that achieves a magnetoresistance effect of more than 2000% at room temperature and higher, and doesn’t require the use of magnetic elements such as cobalt and platinum.
Scientists from IBM and the German Center for Free-Electron Laser Science have built the world's smallest magnetic data storage unit. It uses just twelve atoms per bit, the basic unit of information, and squeezes a whole byte (8 bits) into as few as 96 atoms.
Many physical and chemical processes necessary for biology and chemistry occur at the interface of water and solid surfaces. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have now shown that semiconducting carbon nanotubes have the potential to detect and track single molecules in water.
Conventional CMOS image sensors are not suitable for low-light applications such as fluorescence, because large pixels arranged in a matrix do not support high readout speeds. A new optoelectronic component invented in Germany speeds up this process.
According to a recently published study, the narrowest silicon conducting wires ever made—just four atoms wide and one atom tall—have been shown to have the same electrical current carrying capability of copper. The finding suggests the wires could be a building block for future atomic-scale electronic circuitry.
Organic semiconductors could usher in a new era of electronics. But there is one serious drawback: Organic semiconductors do not conduct electricity very well. However, researchers at Stanford University have changed that equation by improving the ability of the electrons to move through organic semiconductors.
Creating semiconductor structures for high-end optoelectronic devices just got easier, thanks to University of Illinois researchers. The team developed a method to chemically etch patterned arrays in the semiconductor gallium arsenide.
The development of new and advanced materials is often the driver for other industries, such as those involving semiconductors, composites, thin films and coatings, medical devices, chemical and environmental processes, energy systems, and biopharmaceutical products. R&D for these materials involves developing new characteristics, properties, processing capabilities, and entirely new chemical families.
A new chemical technique for depositing a non-crystalline form of silicon into the long, ultra-thin pores of optical fibers has been developed by an international team of scientists. The method is the first of its kind to use high-pressure chemistry to make this particular kind of well-developed films and wires.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory engineers have pioneered a new inexpensive technique for fabricating large-scale flexible and stretchable backplanes using semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotube solutions. Their method yields networks of thin film transistors with excellent charge carrier mobility.
To build denser electronics, developers of 3D, or stacked, chips, have primarily used copper. However, copper has several disadvantages that can limit the reliability of 3D electronics. Researchers have recently demonstrated that two stacked chips can also be vertically interconnected with carbon nanotube vias through the chips.