A Different Kind Of Material World


The semiconductor manufacturing world is poised for big change, and the driver will be materials. Materials always have been a critical factor in semiconductors. Silicon is so important that an entire region of California is named after it. Rare earths have raised fears about nationalistic monopolies. And the shift from aluminum to copper interconnects at 130nm caused one of the most painful... » read more

System Bits: Feb. 11


Modeling computer vision on human vision University of Michigan scientists used digital foveation technology to render images that are more comprehensible to machine vision systems, while also reducing energy consumption by 80%. The effect is achieved by manipulating a camera’s firmware. “It'll make new things and things that were infeasible before, practical,” Professor Robert Dick s... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 18


Solar storage Engineers at MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory designed a system to store renewable energy in vast amounts and deliver it back to the grid when power generation is low. The system stores excess electricity from solar or wind installations as heat using tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowi... » read more

What’s A Mott FET?


The unique physics of two-dimensional semiconductors offers the potential for new kinds of switches that could extend the usefulness of conventional MOSFETs into a variety of new areas. A MOSFET applies a voltage to one side of the gate capacitor. The resulting electric field in the channel shifts the band structure and facilitates or impedes the flow of carriers. So as devices shrink, the g... » read more

Can Graphene Be Mass Manufactured?


Since the isolation of graphene in 2004, the high mobility and unique transport properties of 2-dimensional semiconductors have tantalized physicists and materials scientists. Their in-plane carrier transport and lack of dangling bonds potentially can minimize line/edge scattering and other effects of extreme scaling. While 2-D materials cannot compete with silicon at current device dime... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 3


Graphene foam devices Scientists at Rice University developed a method for building conductive, three-dimensional objects out of graphene foam, which they say could offer new possibilities for energy storage and flexible electronic sensor applications. The same lab initially created laser-induced graphene, or LIG, in 2014. The process involves heating inexpensive polyimide plastic sheets wi... » read more

The Growing Materials Challenge


By Katherine Derbyshire & Ed Sperling Materials have emerged as a growing challenge across the semiconductor supply chain, as chips continue to scale, or as they are utilized in new devices such as sensors for AI or machine learning systems. Engineered materials are no longer optional at advanced nodes. They are now a requirement, and the amount of new material content in chips contin... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 6


Recycling cathodes Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego developed an energy-efficient recycling process that restores used cathodes from spent lithium ion batteries. The process involves harvesting the degraded cathode particles from a used battery and then boiling and heat treating them. In new batteries built with the cathodes, charge storage capacity, charging time and ba... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 30


Wavy display architecture Researchers at KAUST developed a new transistor architecture for flexible ultrahigh resolution devices aimed at boosting the performance of the display circuitry. Flat-panel displays use thin-film transistors, acting as switches, to control the electric current that activates individual pixels consisting of LEDs or liquid crystals. A higher field-effect mobility of... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 16


Lithium-iron-oxide battery Scientists at Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory developed a rechargeable lithium-iron-oxide battery that can cycle more lithium ions than its common lithium-cobalt-oxide counterpart, leading to a much higher capacity. For their battery, the team not only replaced cobalt with iron, but forced oxygen to participate in the reaction process as we... » read more

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