Converting light to electricity is one of the pillars of modern electronics, with the process essential for the operation of everything from solar cells and TV remote control receivers through to laser communications and astronomical telescopes. These devices rely on the swift and effective operation of this technology, especially in scientific equipment, to ensure the most efficient conversion rates possible. In this vein, researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second. Read More
Solar cell efficiency has made significant strides in recent times, but cells are still far from their maximum theoretical efficiency, and part of the reason is that the semiconductors we use to build them don’t have ideal electrical properties. Researchers at Northwestern University have now found a way to tweak an important electrical feature of transition metal oxides, compounds commonly used as semiconductors, to build the optimal light-absorbing material for solar cells, lasers and photoelectrochemical cells. Read More
Swiss scientists have created the first semiconductor laser consisting solely of elements of main group IV (the carbon group) on the periodic table. Simply, this means that the new device is directly compatible with other elements in that group – such as silicon, carbon, and lead – and so can be directly incorporated in a silicon chip as it is manufactured. This presents new possibilities for transmitting data around computer chips using light, which could result in potential transfer speeds exponentially faster than possible with copper wire and using only a fraction of the energy of today’s integrated circuits. Read More
Scientists working at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) claim to have created a molecule-sized electronic component just a few nanometers long that conducts electricity in only the one direction. In essence, a rectifier diode, but one so small that it may one day help replace much bulkier diodes and other semiconductors found on today's integrated circuits to produce incredibly compact, super-fast electronic devices. Read More
Graphene may be talked about as the future wonder material (and for that matter, the present one), but it has one critical deficiency. It lacks a natural bandgap, the physical trait that puts the “semi” in “semiconductor," so it has to be doped to become effective. Enter Ni3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)2 ... well, you can refer to it as a metal-organic graphene analogue for now. In addition to having a natural band gap, it’s able to self-assemble and represents a whole family of compounds that’s exciting to researchers for its novel properties. Read More
Graphene is truly a 21st-century wonder material, finding use in everything from solar cells to batteries to tiny antennas. Now, however, a group of European research institutes have joined forces to create a graphene knock-off, that could prove to be even more versatile. Read More
If physicians have a sufficiently-early warning that a patient’s body is rejecting a transplanted organ, then there’s a good chance that they can stop the process via medication. Implanted electronic sensors could serve to provide that warning as early as possible, and thanks to new research, they’re coming a step closer to practical use. Read More
It consists of one-atom-thick sheets and it could revolutionize electronics ... but it’s not graphene. Chemists at Ohio State University, instead of creating graphene from carbon atoms, have used sheets of germanium atoms to create a substance known as germanane. Because of its numerous advantages over silicon, it could become the material of choice for semiconductors. Read More
A research team at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has successfully used a laser to cool down a semiconductor material known as Cadmium Sulfide. The results of the recently published study could lead to the development of self-cooling computer chips and smaller, more energy efficient air conditioners and refrigerators that don't produce greenhouse gases. Read More
Ordinarily, electronics are made with silicon semiconductors that are rigid, opaque, and about half a millimeter thick. Thanks to research being carried out at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, however, that may be about to change. Led by Dr. Helge Weman and Prof. Bjørn-Ove Fimland, a team there has developed a method of making semiconductors out of graphene. At a thickness of just one micrometer, they are flexible and transparent. Also, because they require so little raw material, they should be considerably cheaper to manufacture than their silicon counterparts. Read More